Quickly the story morphed into
something from the library of the Brothers Grimm for the Tigers, and the result
was a 30-25 loss to
"I feel like the disappointing thing here is the last 14 seconds, 20 seconds of this game tarnishes what a lot of good football players – the seniors on this team – have been able to accomplish in their career here in terms of the number of games that they've won, the number of great bowl games that they've been to, the two SEC Championships that they've won, and the National Championship that they've won," Saban said, "and I can only say I'm very proud of our players, our program, for what we've been able to accomplish."
Down 24-19 with 5:06 left in the
game, Russell engineered his second touchdown drive of the night. He did so by helming a 12-play, 69-yard
possession that drained 4:20 off of the clock and seemingly sealed
Taking control of the ball after the Hawkeyes were limited to a six-play, 12-yard drive, Russell led LSU (9-3) on a march starting at the Tigers' 31 yard line. He would complete seven passes on the series, doing so to Skyler Green, Joseph Addai, Early Doucet, and Dwayne Bowe.
Alley Broussard kept the drive
alive on a fourth and one to make it first and 10 at the
Five plays later, Russell found Green in the back of the end zone for a three-yard score with 46 seconds left for the Tigers' first lead of the day.
But as quickly as the fairy tale's author penned LSU as the Capital One Bowl Champions, one final twist was added.
"I don't know if you could write a
With 46 seconds remaining in the
game, Tate called for the first of three final possession snaps from the
Despite having two timeouts remaining, the Hawkeyes elected not to use them, and after being called for a false start that knocked them back to their 46 yard line Tate again rushed his team to the line for one final play.
Again Tate would hit Holloway, but this time he was uncovered because of a missed assignment on Ronnie Prude's part. Holloway broke an attempted arm tackle by Travis Daniels, and with no time remaining crossed the goal line for a 56-yard completion and victory.
"We just called four verticals and
Prude's miscue was not the result of ill-preparation according to Marcus Spears.
"I think we were prepared for it," Spears said. "We just made a mental error. Sometimes you can be prepared and these things just happen. They made a great play, they took advantage of it and they scored the touchdown."
Tate, the Capital One Bowl MVP,
ended up completing 20-of-32 passes for
Marcus Randall started the game at quarterback for LSU only to be relieved by Matt Flynn late in the first half due to an injury. Randall would return for the Tigers' opening drive of the second half, but following an interception was lifted permanently for Flynn, who was ultimately replaced with Russell.
"We had a lot of extra time to practice almost like a spring practice for this particular game and Matt Flynn had really done extremely well in practice and we wanted to give him an opportunity because he actually practiced better than JaMarcus had," Saban said.
In his final appearance, Randall completed 10-of-15 passes for 89 yards and rushed 9 times for -13 yards including four sacks. Flynn hit on 1-of-4 attempts for 11 yards, but Russell led all three by completing 12-of-15 passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns.
Broussard led the Tigers in rushing with 13 carries for 109 yards, including a 74-yard run for a touchdown to edge LSU closer to the Hawkeyes in the closing moment of the first half.
Marques Simmons led all
While Bowe paced LSU's receiving
corps with eight receptions for 122 yards, Hinkel led
Aside from being a senior playing in his final game, Holloway's 56-yard streak for a touchdown will go down in the history books as the only scoring catch of his collegiate career.
"It's my first touchdown ever, I couldn't top it," Holloway said. "(It's) The best day of my life. As long as the Hawkeyes win I can't write a better script."
Two blocked punts by
"When you make mental mistakes in the game, and both punts that got blocked were really mental errors on things that we had practiced," said Saban, "so you talk about focus and concentration and you talk about being able to go to the game and being able to do what you need to do to execute what you need to do…Mental errors are a terrible way to loose, ‘cause that means the other guys didn't really physically beat you. You really kind of beat yourself."
Statistically the Tigers edged
By virtue of completions of 19, 18,
and 14 yards,
Skyler Green returned the ensuing
kickoff 58 yards, and a 15-yard facemask placed LSU in prime position at the
Flynn would helm one final possession for the Tigers, one that was effectively ended after LSU had driven from their own 23 yard line to their own 49 in three plays. On the first and 10 that followed, Flynn scrambled around in the backfield before being dropped for a 14-yard loss to push the line of scrimmage back to the Tigers' 35 yard line.
All total LSU quarterbacks were sacked five times.
Iowa's first possession of the day proved fruitful as the Hawkeyes covered 69 yards and made good on two third down conversions, the second of which provided Iowa with the lead.
Facing a third and eight from his own 43 yard line, Tate hit Solomon on a slant. With a safety blitz on, no one was behind Solomon after he slipped away from a Tiger and 57 yards later at the 12:42 mark the Hawkeyes held a 7-0 advantage.
It appeared LSU would be further in
the hole after Chris Jackson had a punt blocked to give
Oliver deftly returned the pick 27
yards to the
Taking over at their own 20 yard line after a touchback, the Hawkeyes found it difficult to move the ball. For a second consecutive time, they would have a series end in an interception. This time instead of a defensive lineman, however, it was Landry pulling down a Tate pass.
Landry dove on a throw that came on a third and 12, and his interception put the Tigers in prime field position at the Hawkeyes' 31 yard line. LSU would make good on the opportunity to score their first points of the game.
Thanks to sacks by Hollis and
LSU would only manage to cut into
the Hawkeyes' lead instead of taking the lead, ending a seven-play, 15-yard
drive with a 47-yard field goal from
Without any ability to drive the
ball down the field for the remainder of the second quarter, the Tigers found
themselves backed-up to their own 28 when special teams struck again for
Flynn entered the game on what appeared was going to be LSU simply running out the final minute prior to halftime, but Broussard changed all that.
Taking a handoff from Flynn, Broussard scooted right, weaved through a bit of oncoming traffic, and then took a straight route to the end zone to finish off a one-play, 74-yard drive, that lasted all of 26 seconds.
Attempting to pull even with
Jackson came on to add a single point from the 25 yard line, but a motion penalty against Marcus Spears pushed the ball back five more yards and Jackson would end up hooking his kick to the left to leave the score at 14-12 in Iowa's favor.