ORLANDO, Fla. – Big Ten runner-up Iowa Hawkeyes (10-3) are set to play against the Kentucky Wildcats (9-3) in the 2022 VRBO Citrus Bowl at Camping World Stadium Saturday afternoon.
“We certainly feel it’s a privilege to be here,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said in the coach’s press conference Friday. “Our guys are excited to play in another game. Everybody feels that way. To earn a bowl bid like the Citrus Bowl, really proud of that and feel very, very fortunate to be here.”
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Both teams have played in the Citrus Bowl before. Iowa defeated LSU in 2005 when it was formerly known as the Capital One Bowl. Kentucky defeated Penn State in 2019. This will be the first meeting between Iowa and Kentucky.
“When we were leading up to this process and we knew that the Citrus was a viable option, the players were very excited about coming back here,” Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops said. “They enjoyed themselves the last time they were here. You know you’re going to play a great opponent coming from the Big Ten.”
Iowa and Kentucky are both looking to extend their bowl game winning streaks during Saturday’s game, which kicks off at 1 p.m.
Both schools have a three-game winning streak in bowl games. For Iowa, this is tied for the longest streak in program history, and Ferentz is looking to tie the record of 10 bowl-game wins by a Big Ten Conference coach, held by legendary coach Joe Paterno.
“I think both of us just want to win,” Ferentz said. “That’s what you play for and that’s ultimately what you compete for. It’s not everything, but it makes a big difference.”
For Kentucky, the team is not only looking for their fourth straight bowl game win, but also extending their non-conference winning streak to 16 games. This is currently tied with Iowa for the longest active streak in the country.
“We’re really worried about this year,” Stoops said. “[I’m] proud of this team and the way we fought this season, and I think it’s important to all teams. I mean, you go to these bowls, you want to enjoy them, you find that balance. But ultimately, as I tell our players, the greatest memory they will have is postgame if you win.
Stoops has some familiarity with Iowa. He played football from 1987-89 under head coach Hayden Fry. Ferentz wasn’t the head coach at the time, but he was on staff when Stoops was recruited. When Stoops’ father passed away in 1988, Fry flew in to attend the funeral.
“He had a great impact on myself, my brothers, so many other players,” Stoops said.” You see the characteristics that Hayden Fry started so many years ago still running with Coach Ferentz. And the way they run their organization, they are first class in everything they do.”
According to VegasInsider.com, Kentucky is a three point favorite over Iowa.