Late-Game Heroics Lift Iowa Past LSU, 30-25

Nick Saban waves to the crowd after his final game as head coach of the Tigers.
Nick Saban waves to the crowd after his final game as head coach of the Tigers. (@LSUsports) (@LSUsports)
LSU Sports Interactive

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Just when it looked as though coach Nick Saban would go out a winner at LSU, the Iowa Hawkeyes came up with a miracle finish.

Drew Tate threw a 56-yard touchdown pass to Warren Holloway on the final play Saturday, and Iowa (No. 13 ESPN/USA Today, No. 11 AP) stunned Louisiana State (No. 11 ESPN/USA Today, No. 12 AP) 30-25 in the Capital One Bowl.

Saban, who will become the Miami Dolphins' coach next week, threw up his arms in frustration and then watched as the entire Iowa team mobbed Holloway in the end zone.

The score capped a wild fourth quarter and spoiled a comeback by the Tigers, who overcame a 12-point deficit with 81/2 minutes left.

LSU freshman JaMarcus Russell came off the bench to spark the rally by throwing two touchdown passes. When he hit Skyler Green for a 3-yard score, the Tigers led 25-24 with 46 seconds to go.

After Tate completed two passes, a penalty pushed Iowa back to its 44 with 14 seconds left. Tate wound up and threw long to an open Holloway, who caught the pass in stride at the 10 and dashed to the end zone as time expired.

Iowa (10-2) won its eighth game in a row to reach double digits in victories for the third consecutive year under coach Kirk Ferentz.

Aside from their fourth-quarter rally, the Tigers (9-3) struggled on offense and special teams one week after Saban announced his resignation. He finished 48-16 in five years with the Tigers, leading them to a bowl game every season and to the BCS national championship in 2003.

LSU, which rallied in fourth quarter to win four times during the regular season, came back again after Iowa took a 24-12 lead with 12:48 left.

Russell -- Saban's third quarterback of the game -- capped a 74-yard drive by hitting Green with a 22-yard scoring pass. The Tigers quickly forced a punt, and this time Russell moved them 69 yards for a one-point lead that lasted until the final play.

While Tate was the hero, special teams were the difference. LSU had two punts blocked, missed a 40-yard extra-point kick after committing two penalties, and came up short when Saban faked a 39-yard field-goal attempt.

The late fireworks came after both offenses sputtered for much of the game.

Aside from a 74-yard touchdown run by Alley Broussard, the Hawkeyes bottled up LSU's potent running attack. And Iowa totaled just three first downs in the opening first half but led 14-12 thanks to two big plays.

The Hawkeyes scored on their first possession by burning a blitz. Clinton Solomon caught a short pass over the middle from Tate, shook off a defender and sprinted to the end zone for a 57-yard score.

Iowa struck again 64 seconds before halftime on Miguel Merrick's blocked punt. Sean Considine scooped up the ball at the 7 and scored for a 14-6 lead.

LSU answered on the next play with Broussard's long run. He swept right, cut back, found an opening and scored on the Tigers' biggest gain of the season.

Iowa mounted scoring marches of 60 and 72 yards in the second half. The first drive ended with a 19-yard field goal by Kyle Schlicher, and Marques Simmons' 4-yard touchdown run made it 24-12.

LSU vs. Iowa -- Jan. 1, 2005 -- Capital One Bowl



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