Lowdermilk's first college TD is bittersweet

Rick Brown

Iowa's John Lowdermilk (37) takes an interception in for a touchdown during an NCAA college football game against Nebraska on Friday, Nov. 28, 2014, at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa.

IOWA CITY, Ia. – John Lowdermilk scored his first college touchdown in his final game at Kinnick Stadium on Friday.

It was a bittersweet moment, it turned out, after Iowa lost to Nebraska in overtime 37-34.

Only an oops moment and a good show of sportsmanship kept Lowdermilk out of the end zone earlier in his career. He had an interception against LSU in the third quarter of last season's Outback Bowl, and he looked to take it to the house from 72 yards. But replays showed he dropped the ball before getting in the end zone.

Iowa maintained possession and scored a touchdown, but it was a play that's stuck with Lowdermilk the remainder of his career.

In the fourth quarter of a victory at Purdue earlier this season, Lowdermilk had an interception and looked like he'd stroll into the end zone. But he slid to the turf instead, saying he did so because he had so much respect for Boilermakers coach Darrell Hazel, who had recruited Lowdermilk in his previous job at Kent State.

The senior from Carrollton, Ohio, finally reached the end zone in the second quarter Friday. Defensive tackle Carl Davis hit Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong, Jr., as he was attempting to pass. The ball floated in the air. Lowdermilk caught it and strolled into the end zone from 17 yards out.

"It was a real easy play," Lowdermilk said. "All I had to do was catch it and run. Maybe it was God blessing me for the last touchdown I should have had."

Lowdermik's mental lapse against LSU popped into his mind as he headed to the end zone Friday.

"All I was thinking about was getting across the goal line," Lowdermilk said. "The funny thing is, I was in the back of the end zone celebrating, and I dropped the ball. And I started freaking out."

Lowdermilk's journey to the end zone would have brought a bigger smile to his face had Iowa not frittered away a 24-7 lead in the third quarter. And if the Hawkeye defense could have kept Nebraska from marching down the field in the final 1 minute 49 seconds of regulation to kick a game-tying field goal.

"All we had to do was stop them," Lowdermilk said. "And we didn't do it."