Jan 1, 2024; Orlando, FL, USA; Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Nico Iamaleava (8) throws the ball against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the second quarter at Camping World Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports

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No. 21 Tennessee shuts out No. 17 Iowa in Citrus Bowl

Quarterback Nico Iamaleava rushed for three touchdowns and passed for one in his first career start to help No. 21 Tennessee cruise to a 35-0 rout of No. 17 Iowa on Monday afternoon in the Citrus Bowl at Orlando.

Iamaleava drew the start because Joe Milton III opted out of the contest and he completed 12 of 19 passes for 151 yards for the Volunteers (9-4). He scored on runs of 19, 3 and 2 yards, tossed an 18-yard TD pass to McCallan Castles and helped Tennessee play turnover-free football.

James Pearce Jr. returned an interception for a touchdown and also recorded a strip-sack that set up a Volunteers’ touchdown. Dylan Sampson rushed for 133 yards on 20 carries as the lead back after star Jaylen Wright and No. 2 rusher Jabari Small both opted out of the contest.

Deacon Hill completed 7 of 18 passes for 56 yards and committed three turnovers (two interceptions, one lost fumble) for Iowa (10-4). The Hawkeyes were shut out for the third time this season.

The Iowa offense had 111 yards before Hill was pulled after the early fourth-quarter interception by Pearce. The Hawkeyes finished with 173 while the Volunteers had 383 yards en route to scoring more points than Iowa had allowed in a game all season.

Iowa star Jay Higgins had 16 tackles to tie the school single-season record of 171 set by Andre Jackson in 1972. Teammate Joe Evans registered a career-high four sacks. The Hawkeyes had six overall.

Tyre West had 1.5 of Tennessee’s five sacks.

Hill’s first big miscue came in the first quarter. On third-and-goal from the Tennessee 4, Hill was intercepted in the end zone by Andre Turrentine with 4:55 left.

Tennessee got on the board on the first play of the second quarter when Iamaleava scored from the 19-yard line.

Later in the quarter, Iamaleava scored on a 3-yard run to make it 14-0 with 8:12 left in the half.

Pierce delivered his first big play late in the third quarter when he sacked Hill and forced a fumble that Dominic Bailey recovered at the Iowa 2.

Two plays later, Iamaleava scored from the 2 to make it 21-0 with 1:43 left in the third quarter.

Hill’s rough day ended with the pick-six by Pearce, who had dropped into coverage. Hill threw the ball directly to Pearce, who returned it 52 yards for a touchdown with 14:15 remaining in the contest.

Marco Lainez replaced Hill and Iowa controlled the ball for 13 plays and 6:11 before turning the ball over on downs.

The Volunteers added on with Iamaleava throwing the scoring pass to Castles to make it a 35-point margin with 4:48 left.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

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