Featured image courtesy of HawkeyeSports.com
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Hawkeyes received a great consolation prize on Sunday after being narrowly defeated by Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship game.
Iowa has accepted an invitation to play in the 102nd Rose Bowl Game in Pasadena, California. The No. 5 Hawkeyes will face Pac-12 Champion, No. 6 Stanford at 4:10 p.m. (CT) on Friday, Jan. 1.
"We're just absolutely thrilled to get the news today that we've been invited to the Rose Bowl," Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. "I'm speaking on behalf of our entire football team and everybody here, it's just a really exciting thing for us. We're honored to be involved in it. The Rose Bowl is the most traditional Bowl by far, and if you hear anything about it, you always end up facing a top-notch opponent, and we certainly are playing an excellent Stanford team, the champions of the Pac-12."
It's a well-deserved accomplishment for a record-setting team who went undefeated in the regular season and was leading in the Big Ten Championship game until the final seconds. Of course, a trip to the College Football Playoff would have been ideal, but a chance to play in the Granddaddy of Them All is a feat Iowa is proud of.
"We’re really excited about our guys too," Ferentz said. "They've done a great job. It's been a lot of fun to coach this team and be with this team on a daily basis. We know we have one more big challenge left and a lot of work to do between now and New Year's. But just really excited about what's in front of us."
This game will be the first ever matchup between the Hawkeyes and Cardinal. Stanford, who is led by star running back Christian McCaffrey, are 11-2 on the season and have beaten the likes of No. 8 Notre Dame and No. 25 USC. Their two losses were to No. 13 Northwestern and No. 15 Oregon.
“If you would have told me before the season started that we’d go 12-0 in the regular season and get a trip to the Rose Bowl, I’d say that’s pretty nice, that’s pretty good,” Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard said. “We’re happy to be where we are at right now. Obviously, last night didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to go but this is the next best thing.”
Iowa will be making their sixth appearance in the prestigious Rose Bowl Game, and their first in Pasadena since 1991. The Hawkeyes are 2-3 in their past five Rose Bowl games, with their last victory occurring in 1959 against California. Iowa's fans, who traveled extremely well to Indianapolis over the weekend, will certainly be out in full force in Southern California.
"I can tell you, the fans of Iowa are just great fans in general, but I think I can speak for all of them and just say they're really excited about this as well," Ferentz said. "It's always had a very special place in Iowans' hearts."
Fans interested in purchasing tickets to the game are encouraged to make their request through the UI Athletics Ticket Office. The price of tickets range from $150-$185 with the school's ticket allocation located in sections 11-18.