USC (No. 22) couldn’t keep pace with Iowa (No. 16) in the Holiday Bowl as the Hawkeyes scored touchdowns in their first five possessions on the way to an easy 49-24 victory over the Trojans.
“They played a really good game from start to finish,” head coach Clay Helton said. “They played better than us tonight.”
Iowa wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette scored three times in the second quarter, including a 98-yard kickoff return. Meanwhile, quarterback Nate Stanley threw two passes for touchdowns to help the Hawkeyes improve to 10-3 on the season.
Iowa played with heavy hearts as former coach Hayden Fry and former athletic director Bump Elliott both died earlier in December.
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) December 28, 2019
“It’s been a really challenging month in Iowa athletics with the passing of Bump and Coach Fry,” Coach Kirk Ferentz told the Associated Press.
USC fell to 8-5.
The Iowa top-ranked defense performed as capably as the offense, with four sacks, but USC kept pace in the first half, trailing only 28-17.
USC’s freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis had completed 22 passes for 260 yards and 2 touchdowns by the second drive of the third quarter. However on the play, a defender hit him, injuring his arm.
Iowa 28, USC 24
Trojans come out strong to start the second half.
— USC Trojans (@USC_Athletics) December 28, 2019
“Right now, we know it is an elbow injury,” Helton said. “We’ll get an MRI and see where it is from there. We’re hoping it’s a strain.”
USC did not score after losing Slovis.
The Trojans pulled closer as the second half began, with a touchdown on a Stephen Carr run to make the score 28-24. Amon-Ra St. Brown also made nine catches for 163 yards.
The teams played before 50,123 at San Diego County Credit Union Stadium. This is the final year the Holiday Bowl will match teams from the Pac-12 and the Big 10. Next year, an Atlantic Coast Conference team will face the Pac-12 team.
— SDCCU Holiday Bowl (@HolidayBowl) December 28, 2019
– Staff reports
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