ORLANDO, Fla. - For a second it appeared LSU was on the verge of another Disney fairy tale finish much like the ones they had closed the books on in the regular season.

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 Iowa for Nick Saban in his final gameday appearance before leaving for the National Football League.


"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 Iowa's (10-2) fate.


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 Iowa 32 yard line, and on the next play Russell escaped having the ball ripped from his hand to complete an 18-yard strike to a sliding Bowe.


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 better script," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said.  "Nobody would believe it if you did."


With 46 seconds remaining in the game, Tate called for the first of three final possession snaps from the Iowa 29 yard line.  A completion of 11 yards to Ed Hinkel was the result, and getting up to the line quickly Tate then fired a pass to Warren Holloway for a nine-yard gain.


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 (Clinton) Solomon was supposed to run a skinny post," Tate said.  "They had a safety on him.  That was probably the most time I had to throw all day right there.  I was going to go back to (Scott) Chandler but the safety playing that side of the field jumped Chandler and then Warren's guy ran over to the flat.  I just threw it up to Warren and I think once Warren caught it he wasn't going down."


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 Iowa for 287 yards.  His totals included two first quarter interceptions, but touchdown passes of 57 and 56 yards as well because of Tiger mistakes.


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 Iowa rushers with 35 yards on 13 carries, as the Tigers' defense limited the Hawkeyes to 47 yards on the ground total.  Forty-eight yards of Iowa's rushing attack came in the second half as the Hawkeyes were held to minus one yards rushing on 12 attempts over the course of the first 30 minutes.


While Bowe paced LSU's receiving corps with eight receptions for 122 yards, Hinkel led Iowa with 10 catches for 93 yards.  That Holloway caught the game-winner wais what really added to the Hollywood aspect of the Hawkeye's win.


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 Iowa in the first half helped a struggling Hawkeyes' offense overcome their deficiencies.  Those deficiencies aided LSU in holding Iowa to just 77 yards total through the first half.


"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 Iowa in most categories.  LSU gained 19 first downs to the Hawkeyes' 16, outgained their opponent 346-334 in total yardage, and held the ball for 34:12 compared to 25:48.


Defensively Daniels, Lionel Turner and LaRon Landry led the Tigers in tackles with 5.5 each, but right behind them was Kenneth Hollis with five solo tackles, including two sacks.


Iowa had a change to extend their lead to a two-score game early in the second half after Randall was intercepted to put the Hawkeyes at their own 38 yard line. 


By virtue of completions of 19, 18, and 14 yards, Iowa moved all the way down to LSU's 16 yard line, and on a keeper that netted seven yards Tate earned a first down at the Tigers' two yard line.  Three incomplete passes followed though, and Iowa's Kyle Schlicher came on to put a 19-yard field goal through the uprights to push the Hawkeyes' lead up to five.


Skyler Green returned the ensuing kickoff 58 yards, and a 15-yard facemask placed LSU in prime position at the Iowa 26 yard line.  Flynn came on in relief of Randall, but after a four-yard run from Joseph Addai and two incomplete passes the drive came to an end with Flynn coming up one yard short on a fake field goal.


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 Iowa the ball at the Tigers' 27 yard line.  The Hawkeyes generously returned possession to LSU on the only play of the drive when Tate was intercepted by Melvin Oliver. 


Oliver deftly returned the pick 27 yards to the Iowa 42, but after a three and out the Tigers were forced to punt. 


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.


Jackson ended a six-play, 20-yard drive with a 29-yard boot with 14:51 still left before halftime to cut the deficit to four.


Thanks to sacks by Hollis and Claude Wroten, Iowa found themselves having to punt from their own 15 yard line on the ensuing possession. 


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 Jackson with 9:26 left before the half.


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 Iowa with a second blocked punt.


This time the Hawkeyes weren't so generous.  Following Miguel Merrick's block, Sean Considine scooped up the loose ball and scored with 52 seconds in the second quarter.

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 Iowa, Flynn remained on the field for a two-point conversion.  He connected with Bowe in the end zone, but an offensive pass interference call against the Tigers' wide receiver negated the score.


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. 


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