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Tennessee Football beats Iowa 35-0: INSTANT REACTION

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Nico Iamaleava is 1-0 as a starter. With the true freshman stepping up due to senior quarterback Joe Milton III opting out of the Citrus Bowl, Tennessee Football neat the Iowa Hawkeyes 35-0 in Orlando after a scoreless first quarter to wrap up the 2023 season.

The Vols, ranked No. 21 in the College Football Playoff rankings, No. 25 in the AP Poll and No. 23 in the Coaches Poll, finish their third year under Josh Heupel at 9-4. Iowa, meanwhile, who won the Big Ten West with a 10-2 regular season record, finishes 10-4 in its 25th year under Kirk Ferentz.

Early in the game, Iowa looked in position to take control. The Hawkeyes, after both teams exchanged punts on their opening drives, took advantage of a bad punt by Tennessee Football and drove deep into the red zone. However, Andre Turrentine then picked off Deacon Hill in the end zone.

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After the two teams traded punts one more time, the Vols drove down the field on back to back drives in the second quarter, capping them both off with rushing touchdown runs by Nico Iamaleava, who ran for three scores on the day. UT went into halftime up 14-0.

Then the defense stepped up against an Iowa team that has been horrendous on offense all year. James Pearce Jr. had a strip-sack in the third quarter to set up Iamaleava’s next touchdown run, and then Pearce had a pick-six in the fourth to put the Vols up 28-0.

Ferentz then pulled Iowa quarterback Deacon Hill for Marco Lainez, but the next drive just ended on a turnover on downs. Then Dylan Sampson had a 33-yard run to set up an 18-yard touchdown pass from Iamaleava to McCallan Castles for an exclamation point.

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Iamaleava finished the game 12-of-19 for 151 yards and a touchdown to go with his three rushing scores and 27 rushing yards, but he was sacked six times. Sampson had 20 carries for 133 yards. Ramel Keyton led in receiving with three catches for 51 yards in his final game.

Rocky Top had over 380 yards of total offense. Meanwhile, Iowa was held to 173 total yards, and UT had four sacks. This is the second straight bowl win by Tennessee Football and the sixth in seven trips dating back to 2014. That run also began with a win over Iowa, as the Vols beat them in the Gator Bowl 45-28 to close out the 2014-15 season.

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