TAMPA, Fla. – What Anthony Jennings lacked in experience, LSU more than compensated for with a talented supporting cast in the Outback Bowl.
Jennings made plenty of freshman mistakes Wednesday, however they weren’t nearly as costly as they could have been for the 14th-ranked Tigers with Jeremy Hill rushing for 216 yards and two touchdowns in a 21-14 win.
The second quarterback in school history to make his first college start in a bowl game, Jennings fretted over an interception that helped Iowa (8-5) get back in the game.
But with the outcome on the line, he simply turned and handed off to Hill, who made sure LSU (10-3) would not lose.
“Anthony in his first start was tight,” coach Les Miles said, adding that Jennings learned that some lessons will be beneficial moving forward.
“He wasn’t perfect by any stretch,” Miles said. “But he did what he had to do.”
Craig Loston’s fourth-quarter interception stopped a potential tying drive for Iowa, giving Hill a chance to put the game out of reach by carrying four times for 87 yards on a six-play, 92-yard march for a 21-7 LSU lead.
Iowa pulled within a touchdown for the second time in 4 minutes after Jordan Cotton returned the ensuing kickoff to the Tigers 4.
Jennings ran for a first-quarter touchdown, but the true freshman struggled to hit open receivers while completing 7 of 19 passes for 82 yards. In addition to throwing an interception that Iowa’s John Lowdermilk returned 71 yards, he was sacked four times while standing in for the injured Zach Mettenberger.
C.J. Beathard replaced Jake Rudock at quarterback for Iowa on the first play of the fourth quarter. His fourth-down interception stopped one promising drive, but he also tossed a 4-yard TD pass to Kevonte Martin-Manley that trimmed Iowa’s deficit to 21-14 with 1:42 remaining.
Lowdermilk set up Iowa’s other TD – Mark Weisman’s 2-yard run in the third quarter – with his interception return to the LSU 1.