TAMPA, Fla. — C.J. Beathard went down slinging Monday.
He wouldn't have had it any other way.
Iowa’s senior quarterback played more than the final two quarters of the Hawkeyes’ 30-3 loss to Florida in the Outback Bowl after suffering a hamstring injury which limited his mobility.
“It was my last game. I had to give it everything I had,’’ Beathard said.
That even proved to be a struggle against the Gators, who limited Beathard to a 7-of-23 passing performance covering only 55 yards, the fewest the senior has passed for during any of his 28 starts for Iowa.
Beathard suffered the injury during the second quarter, noticeably limping after taking a hit which left him one yard short of the goal following a six-yard gain. Beathard spun and lunged toward the end zone at the end of the play before picking himself up and returning to the huddle.
“I was definitely hurting then. I couldn’t do some things that I had done earlier in the game,’’ Beathard said. “But, we were competing with them. It was close, 3-3 then 10-3.’’
Beathard, whose toughness has never been questioned while guiding Iowa to a 21-7 record as a starting quarterback, said felt he could give Iowa a chance to compete.
“I wanted to be out there with my guys,’’ Beathard said. “I wasn’t going to pull myself out of my last college game. That wasn’t happening.’’
Because of that, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said he gave Beathard the chance to continue.
“He thought he could go back and play, which he always does, but while he certainly was limited in what he could do, he wanted to compete,’’ Ferentz said. “I certainly think we owed it to him. He’s had a tremendous career and has laid it out there for us game in and game out.’’
Running back Akrum Wadley said that was Beathard being Beathard.
“C.J. is a warrior. He was banged up, but he kept fighting to the end,’’ Wadley said.
Beathard said the Hawkeyes simply made too many mistakes to overcome.
He threw three interceptions himself, all in the fourth quarter and all which led to points for the Gators.
Outback Bowl most valuable player Chauncey Gardner returned the first of his two interceptions 58 yards for a touchdown which extended Florida’s lead to 24-3 in the opening minute of the fourth quarter.
The Gators’ Eddy Pineiro followed the other two picks with field goals of 25 and 48 yards to give Florida (9-4) its winning margin over an Iowa team which settled for an 8-5 finish.
“Things kind of got out of control late. My picks, there’s no excuse for that,’’ Beathard said. “They took us out of it. That’s pretty hard to swallow. That’s not what I’m about. That’s the tough thing.’’