Tennessee’s attempt to run up score during Citrus Bowl blowout irks former Broncos QB


Iowa offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz, the son of Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz has faced a significant amount of criticism this season. In October, Iowa confirmed that the offensive playcaller would not return for the 2024 season.

The Hawkeyes struggled to put points on the scoreboard throughout the 2023 season, and their offensive woes continued on New Year’s Day. Iowa played Tennessee in the Citrus Bowl on Monday and trailed by 21 points entering the fourth quarter. 

Iowa’s offense only managed to produce 106 yards of total offense through the game’s first three quarters. The Volunteers ultimately shut out the Hawkeyes en route to a 35-0 victory. 

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Brock Osweiler #17 of the Denver Broncos looks on before a game against the Dallas Cowboys at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 17, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

The Hawkeyes were also shutout in their last game, a 26-0 loss to Michigan in the Big Ten Championship game. Things were so bad for Iowa that ESPN analyst Brock Osweiler was pleading for mercy at the end of the game.

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Even as it appeared almost certain that Tennessee would win the game, the Volunteers did not take their foot off the pedal. Tennessee was in the red zone with less than one minute remaining, but decided to take and score on a fourth down. 

The Hawkeyes were flagged for jumping offside, prompting the Volunteers to again try and get into the end zone. Tennessee then gained enough yards for a first down, but at that point they seemed content with the score and let the clock run out.

Brock Osweiler, who was a member of the Denver Broncos Super Bowl 50 team, expressed his displeasure with Tennessee’s late-game decisions.

Tennessee quarterback runs into the end zone

Tennessee quarterback Nico Iamaleava (8) runs into the end zone for a touchdown during the Citrus Bowl NCAA College football game between Tennessee and Iowa in Orlando, Fla., Monday, Jan. 1, 2024. (Saul Young/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK)

“I don’t love this move here by the Vols right now,” said Osweiler who was one of the game’s broadcasters. “They had an opportunity to run out the clock, I get it, you got some backups in there. They’ve worked hard, they’ve earned reps. But there is also a sportsmanship element to this game well within hand, 35-0.”

Iowa Hawkeyes quarterback throws the ball

Jan 1, 2024; Orlando, FL, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes quarterback Deacon Hill (10) throws the ball against the Tennessee Volunteers in the third quarter at Camping World Stadium. (Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports)

Dave Flemming, who was broadcasting the game alongside Osweiler, also suggested that Tennessee should have simply taken a knee sooner and let the clock tick down. 

Fans also took to X, the company formerly known as Twitter, to share their thoughts on Iowa’s lackluster offensive performance.

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“I think I understand why Brian Ferentz was not retained by Iowa,” one fan wrote along with a picture showing the results of six of Iowa’s offensive possessions. Five of the possessions resulted in a punt, while Tennessee intercepted a pass on the other possession.

“Losing to this Iowa team should have counted as two losses. I have no idea how it won 10 games,” another fan wrote. 

Iowa punter Tory Taylor was arguably the lone bright spot for the Hawkeyes as he set the NCAA single-season yards record during the Citrus Bowl.

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