Iowa's Haluska talks Outback Bowl vs LSU
December 31, 2013
The madness of college football bowl season has arrived, and Iowa is all set to clash with Louisiana State in the highly-anticipated Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla. at 12 p.m. Wednesday on ESPN. The New Year's Day bowl pits the 8-4 Hawkeyes against the 9-3 Tigers, who are ranked No. 14 in the country.
Blake Haluska, a Carroll High graduate and junior wide receiver for the Hawkeyes, said the opportunity to play against LSU, who is just two years removed from a national championship appearance, is what the college football postseason is all about.
"We were excited once we found out. I mean, playing an SEC school like LSU, they're a great team," Haluska said by phone Monday night in Tampa. "You want to play a great team in a bowl game, and they're a ranked team, so if we can beat them to end the season it will show how good of a season it's been, and it'll be a great accomplishment for this team."
The Iowa-LSU matchup is one of three Big 10-Southeastern Conference matchups this bowl season - all of which are on New Year's Day - with the other two being Nebraska vs. No. 23 Georgia in the Gator Bowl and No. 19 Wisconsin vs. No. 8 South Carolina in the Capital One Bowl. The SEC, which has won the last seven national championships and will have an opportunity for an eighth when No. 2 Auburn faces No. 1 Florida State at 7 p.m. Jan. 6, is widely considered college football's best conference while the Big 10 has been under scrutiny for its lackluster results, particularly in bowl games, the last couple seasons.
Haluska said facing LSU is an opportunity to gain some of that respect back.
"Oh yeah, for sure we're representing the Big 10," Haluska said of Iowa, who is 5-2 against the SEC in bowl games. "To knock off an SEC team it will just show that the Big 10 is one of the top conferences, too, and people can't forget about that instead of just focusing on the SEC. It'd be a huge win for the Big 10 and Iowa, just to show the Big 10 can compete."
The bowl game also represents a personal conquest for the Hawkeyes, who had their worst season since 2000 last year, going 4-8, and missed out on a bowl game for the first time since 2007. The sting from last year's dumpster-fire of a season fueled the Hawkeyes, Haluska said, and now they're a win away from attaining a goal set before the season.
"We've been working ever since last November, since the season ended last year and trying to get back to a bowl game," he said. "Our goal was nine wins this season and we have a chance at that."
LSU, who is playing in a bowl game for the 14th consecutive year, rank 21st nationally with 37.0 points per game while utilizing a balanced attack. They average 265.1 yards through the air - 33rd in the country - while their running game ranks 35th with 200.8 yards per game.
"They're fast. I'd say that's what the SEC is known for too is being fast," Haluska said. "I think we size up with them really well though. I mean, they're big but we're big as well."
The Tigers will try to maintain that offensive harmony without senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger, whose college career came to an end when he suffered a left knee injury in the fourth quarter of LSU's 31-27 win over Arkansas on Nov. 29.
LSU will turn to true freshman quarterback Anthony Jennings, who has attempted only 10 passes this season, completing six for 99 yards, against Iowa's stingy defense that ranks 11th in the country, giving up 18.8 points per game.
"I think our defense will play well up front," Haluska said. "It'll be a battle up front, and I just think it will be a really great game."
The Hawkeyes are 14-11-1 all-time in bowl games, while LSU is 22-18-1, though the Tigers have dropped three of their last four.
Cass Weitl, Freshman Defensive Tackle, Northwest Missouri State - Kuemper Catholic
Northwest defeated Lenoir-Rhyne 43-28 to win the Division-II National Championship Dec. 21 and complete a perfect 15-0 season. Weitl did not play in the contest.
In 11 games as a reserve for the Bearcats this season he compiled 12 tackles, one for loss, and 1 1/2 sacks.
Blake Haluska, Junior Wide Reciever, University of Iowa - Carroll High
Iowa went 5-3 in the Big 10 and 8-4 overall.
Iowa will play LSU in the Outback Bowl 12 p.m. Jan. 1.
Casey Kasperbauer, Sophomore, South Dakota University - Carroll High
South Dakota was knocked off by Morehead State 120-83 Dec. 19 and defeated 85-59 by Youngstown State on Sunday. The Coyotes have lost six straight games.
Kasperbauer played 22 minutes and scored 15 points while collecting two rebounds against Morehead State. Against Youngstown State he played 21 minutes and scored six points and grabbed two rebounds.
South Dakota (3-9) hosts Cal State Northridge 7 p.m. Thursday.
Jordan Holdsworth, Junior, Wayne State University - Carroll High
Wayne State was defeated 75-56 by South Dakota State in exhibition contest Dec. 18 and lost to Augustana 77-55 Dec. 21.
Holdsworth is taking a medical redshirt this season after suffering a knee injury in the offseason.
Wayne State (4-6, 1-5) plays at Minot State 8 p.m. Friday.
Matthew Berg, Junior, Brian Dentlinger, Briar Cliff College - Kuemper Catholic
Briar Cliff lost to Nebraska Wesleyan 74-66 Dec. 21 and defeated No. 20 York College 81-72 Monday in the Holiday Classic.
Berg played 18 minutes in the contest and scored four points and grabbed three rebounds against Nebraska Wesleyan. He did not play against York College.
Briar Cliff (10-6, 4-3) hosts the University of Jamestown 7:30 p.m. tonight in the Holiday Classic.
Ashley Hagedorn, Senior, IKM-Manning, Lexi Albrecht, Freshman, Kuemper Catholic - Iowa State University
Iowa State defeated Holy Cross 72-50 Saturday and William and Mary 85-65 Sunday to finish the non-conference schedule undefeated.
Hagedorn played eight minutes and had no points and two rebounds against Holy Cross and Albrecht played seven minutes and had no points and one assist. Against William and Mary, Hagedorn played 12 minutes and scored three points and Albrecht played eight minutes and had no points, two rebounds and three assists.
Iowa State (11-0) plays at TCU 7 p.m. Thursday.
Katie Dentlinger, Sophomore, Iowa Central Community College - Coon Rapids-Bayard
Iowa Central defeated AIB 98-58 Dec. 19. Stats for the contest were not provided.
Iowa Central (11-2, 1-1) plays at Iowa Lakes 1 p.m. Saturday.
Kaylee Blake, Freshman, Briar Cliff College - IKM-Manning
Briar Cliff lost to Young Harris 71-44 Dec. 19 and Saint Xavier 93-72 Dec. 20 in the Cruisin Classic.
Blake scored two points and had one rebound against Young Harris and had 10 points and three rebounds against Saint Xavier.
Briar Cliff defeated Dakota State 89-73 Monday night in the Holiday Classic behind 19 points and six rebounds from Blake.
Briar Cliff (10-5, 4-3) faces the University of Jamestown 5:30 p.m. tonight in the Holiday Classic.
Tember Schechinger, Sophomore, Northwest Missouri State - IKM-Manning
Northwest defeated Saint Mary 64-46 Dec. 18 and was knocked off by Fort Hays State 79-69 in double overtime Dec. 21.
Schechinger played 26 minutes against Saint Mary and had 10 points and six rebounds. Against Fort Hays State she played 27 minutes and scored six points while grabbing six rebounds and dished out two assists.
Northwest (3-7, 0-3) hosts Central Oklahoma 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
Morningside College - Zach Schroeder, Sophomore, Carroll High, Drew Paulsen, Junior, Carroll High, Alex Paulsen, Freshman, Carroll High, Cole Malin, Junior, Carroll High, James Svoboda, Junior, Carroll Swim Team (Audubon)
Morningside's next meet is Jan. 17 when it hosts South Dakota.
Taylor Berger, Sophomore, University of Northern Iowa - Carroll High
Northern Iowa is competing in the Midlands Championships in Evanston, Ill. this week. Berger did not compete in the tournament.