TAMPA, Fla. — The sting of a 30-3 loss to Florida remained raw, but Desmond King managed a wave to the fans as he left the field one final time in an Iowa football uniform.
The Hawkeyes’ senior cornerback recorded the 14th interception of his career during the first quarter of the 30-3 loss to Florida in the Outback Bowl, picking off an Austin Appleby pass on the Gators’ second possession of the game to move into a share of fourth place on Iowa’s career list with Damien Robinson.
King returned a kickoff 49 yards, ran a punt back 19 yards and counted one tackle for a loss among his five stops in the loss to the Gators.
“I think we all went out there and played our hearts out. We felt prepared,’’ King said. “The first quarter showed everything. It just kind of slipped away from us a little bit.’’
King said he took the time to salute the fans as he left the turf at Raymond James Stadium because of the way they supported him throughout his career.
“It means a lot to me, just having the opportunity,’’ King said. “Just a small kind out of Detroit and getting the chance to play in the Big Ten on the big stage. I am so thankful.’’
TWO GRAND: Akrum Wadley’s 115-yard rushing performance gives Iowa two 1,000-yard rushers for the first time in the program’s history.
Wadley finished the season as Iowa’s leading rusher, gaining 1,081 yards, while a 45-yard performance left LeShun Daniels with 1,058 yards in his senior season.
“Those guys did a great job this year,’’ Iowa offensive guard Sean Welsh said. “Even when we weren’t helping them out, they did it on their own.’’
MORE THAN A GAME: Defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson said disappointment about the bowl loss doesn’t tarnish what Iowa did accomplish during its 8-5 season.
“There were some games where we didn’t look too hot, but there were also other games we looked like an actual team,’’ Johnson said. “I felt like we showed good leadership all year, and one game, that doesn’t define who we are.’’
A RECORD DAY: Despite the loss, Monday turned out to be a record-setting day for Iowa.
The Hawkeyes set an Outback Bowl record in limiting Florida to 11 first downs and tied a record set by Michigan in 1988 when they were penalized just one time against Florida.
Iowa’s 55 passing yards and 226 total yards in the game were also the fewest by a team in the Outback Bowl.
“We knew Iowa would come out swinging and they made some good plays on us,’’ Appleby said. “We had some bad luck early and we didn’t panic. Our defense kept us in it.’’
PART OF THE SHOW: Two Iowa high school marching bands, one from Waverly-Shell Rock and one from Western Dubuque, were part of the halftime show at the Outback Bowl.
TICKET PRICES STABLE: Iowa announced Monday that prices for season tickets for the 2017 season will remain unchanged — $405 for the general public, $335 for faculty and staff and $150 for students.
The renewal process for the public begins today via email at hawkeyesports.com/tickets. Paper applications will be mailed to fans on Feb. 1, with a renewal deadline set for March 31.
Fans interested in becoming season ticket holders can do so online beginning Jan. 9, with available seats based on those which went unsold on a season ticket basis in 2016.
Iowa hosts seven home games next fall, including Illinois, Minnesota, Penn State, Purdue and Ohio State in Big Ten play and nonconference games against North Texas and Wyoming.
LEAD GIFT: Iowa announced at an Outback Bowl event that Ted Pacha, a longtime Hawkeye supporter from Iowa City, has provided a $5 million lead gift.
The donation is part of the $25 million Kinnick Edge campaign which will fund a portion of an $89 million renovation of the north end zone at the stadium. The club area in the renovated part of the stadium will be named the Ted Pacha Family Club.