Outback Bowl – Jan 1

Iowa Hawkeyes (8-4) vs Mississippi State Bulldogs (8-4)

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IOWA | BIG 10 CONFERENCE

Coach: Kirk Ferentz

Iowa Players to watch:

**Sophomore TE T.J. Hockenson (6-5/250)

Hockenson received the John Mackey Award as the top tight end in the nation.
Photo: The Gazette

Hockenson leads the Hawkeyes with 46 receptions for 717 yards and six receiving touchdowns. He also has one rushing touchdown. He averages 15.6 yards per catch. His career totals include 70 receptions for 1,037 yards. 

*Junior SS Amani Hooker (6-0/210)

Hooker was named Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year in the Big Ten. He ranks second on the team with 59 tackles (33 solo, 26 assists) and shares the team lead with four interceptions. He currently has seven pass break-ups and 3.5 tackles for loss.

**Sophomore WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette (6-1/175)

Smith-Marsette has been named the Rodgers-Dwight Return Specialist of the Year. He is the first Hawkeye to be named Big Ten Return Specialist of the Year. The award bears the name of Iowa’s 1997 consensus All-American Tim Dwight. Smith-Marsette, a native of Newark, New Jersey, ranks second in the nation in kickoff returns with a 29.3 average on 19 returns.

**Sophomore DE A.J. Epenesa (6-5/277)

Epenesa, a native of Glen Carbon, Illinois, has recorded 9.5 sacks, 35 tackles and scored a touchdown on a fumble return. He also blocked a punt against Illinois and recorded a sack. Epenesa was a two-time Defensive Player of the Week Honoree. 

*Junior TE Noah Fant (6-5/241)

Fant has concluded his Iowa career after announcing he will enter the 2019 NFL Draft.

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MISSISSIPPI STATE | SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE

Coach: Joe Moorhead

Mississippi State Players to watch:

Senior S Johnathan Abram (6-0/210)

Abram was selected first-team All-SEC selection by the Associated Press.
Photo: DraftBlaster

The Columbia, Mississippi, product racked up 93 total tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, five pass breakups, two interceptions, once forced fumble and one fumble recovery over the year. Abram allowed a passer rating of 41.6 over his 40 targets this season according to PFF, which led all SEC safeties.

Senior OC Elgton Jenkins (6-4/315)

Jenkins, who claimed the Kent Hull Trophy last week as the top offensive lineman in the state of Mississippi, is a versatile veteran who has started 31 games in his career and can play all four positions on the offensive line. Jenkins anchors a unit that paves the way for a Bulldog run game that averages 226.4 yards per game and 5.8 yards per carry.

Senior DE Montez Sweat (6-6/241)

Sweat led the SEC with 11.0 total sacks. He boasted 40 total pressures over the 2018 season, according to PFF, which was the second most in the conference among all edge defenders. He added 51 total tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and one forced fumbled.

**Sophomore LB Erroll Thompson (6-1/250)

Thompson closed the season ranking second on the Bulldog squad with 84 total tackles to go along with 8.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and two interceptions over his breakout sophomore campaign. He led all SEC linebackers with a 90.9 coverage grade, according to PFF.

*Junior NG Jeffery Simmons (6-4/300)

One of the most dominant defensive lineman in college football and winner of the 23rd annual C Spire Conerly Trophy, Simmons had declared for the NFL draft.

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Outback Bowl
Iowa 27, Mississippi State 22
Raymond James Stadium
Tampa, Florida

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