As expected, the 2022 TransPerfect Music City Bowl was a defensive slugfest between Kentucky and Iowa. However, it was the Hawkeyes from Iowa who, with two pick-six interceptions, came away from Nissan Stadium with the 21-0 win over Kentucky. Saturday’s TransPerfect Music City Bowl was a matchup of two defensive powers who gave fans one of the greatest games in bowl history. Sure, not a lot of points were scored, but what Iowa did was play to the Hawkeye brand with a showcase of remarkable special team precision. Both punters had well over 300 yards and forced the offensive units into a pickle where touchdowns were hard to come by.
For Kentucky, they knew what they were getting into on Saturday before the bowl even kicked off. Kentucky struggled to find any rhythm on the offensive side of the ball. Heading into the Music City Bowl matchup with Iowa, Kentucky faced an uphill challenge due to Will Levis opting out of the game to focus his body on the NFL draft. On the two-deep depth chart for the Bowl, Kentucky listed three guys as potential starters against Iowa on Saturday. In the end, Kentucky went with Destin Wade. Wade came into the Iowa game not having ever played a college snap. He threw two costly interceptions that led the Hawkeyes to 14 points that would eventually bury Kentucky.
However, all was not lost for the Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday. Defensively, Kentucky was solid; the Wildcats only gave up one defensive touchdown on the day. Kentucky held the Iowa Hawkeyes to 206 yards and only 67 on the ground. Heading into the 2023 season, Mark Stoops has a lot to be excited about in terms of this defensive unit; he and Brad White have turned the Kentucky defensive unit into a solid brick wall.
For Iowa, the Hawkeyes put together a physical game plan that was too much for the Wildcats to overcome. Iowa made earn every inch, and in the end, the Hawkeyes made too many smart plays and walked away as champions of the 2022 TransPerfect Music City Bowl. There’s a lot to be excited about if you’re an Iowa Hawkeye. They did just enough to win, and in the end, that’s all you can for from a team like Iowa. Heading into the 2023 season, Iowa has plenty to be excited about and continues to build off on both sides of the ball.
In particular, that Iowa defensive unit is a unit to behold. Iowa has some monster playmakers on that side of the ball, and in the end, the defense won Iowa the Music City Bowl. From two pick-sixes to the pressure the Hawkeyes presented Kentucky with, Iowa flexed on Kentucky and showed who the better team on the field was. Iowa was too gritty and too physical for Kentucky on Saturday, and that will be something for Hawkeye Nation to keep an eye on as they prepare for the 2023 season.
In the end, Iowa defeated Kentucky 21-0 and left no question on the field of play as to who wanted the title of Music City Bowl Champions more.