Tennessee Routs Iowa In Shutout To Win Cheez-it Citrus Bowl

Written By Adrian Beecher

Led by sophomore running back Dylan Sampson and freshman quarterback Nico Imaleava, Tennessee steamrolled Iowa in a 35-0 victory in the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl.

Sampson was the workhorse of a ground attack that tallied up 232 yards, with totaling 133 of those on 20 carries. Imaleava was the one to finish off the drives for the Vols with three rushing touchdowns on 15 carries for 27 yards.

Imaleava capped off his night with an 18-yard TD pass for the lone passing TD of the game, as he connected with 4:48 left to play.

The blowout came after a scoreless first quarter. Tennessee would get on the board first with a touchdown run from Imaleava on the first play of the 2nd quarter.

The Vol’s defense was elite, only allowing Iowa 173 total yards, with 113 coming on the ground, nearly eliminating any aerial attack.

Tennessee would answer their first score with another on their ensuing possession. they would take that 14-0 lead into the locker room at the half.

Iowa had the ball six possessions in the second half. They started with two punts, then fumbled the ball away at their own two-yard line. It took the Vols just two plays to punch that in.

On the Hawkeye’s ensuing possession, quarterback Deacon Hill was pick-six by Tennesse defensive lineman James Pierce Jr., who returned it 52 yards the other way. This made it a 28-0 game with 14:15 left to play.

It was the Vol’s’ first shutout of the season and the first since shutting out Vanderbilt on November 26th, 2022. This also marked the second straight bowl win for Tennessee.

(Image Credit: Jonathan Olkowski / SkyBoat)

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