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Hill runs for 216 yards, LSU beats Iowa 21-14

Thursday - 1/2/2014, 10:04am  ET

Iowa wide receiver Kevonte Martin-Manley (11) pulls in a 4-yard touchdown pass in front of LSU defensive back Rashard Robinson (21) during the fourth quarter of the Outback Bowl NCAA college football game Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, in Tampa, Fla. LSU won the game 21-14. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

FRED GOODALL
AP Sports Writer

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- What Anthony Jennings lacked in experience, LSU more than compensated for with a talented supporting cast in the Outback Bowl.

Jennings made plenty of freshman mistakes Wednesday, however they weren't nearly as costly as they could have been for the 14th-ranked Tigers with Jeremy Hill rushing for 216 yards and two touchdowns in a 21-14 victory.

The second quarterback in school history to make his first college start in a bowl game, Jennings fretted over an interception that helped Iowa (8-5) get back in the game.

But with the outcome on the line, he simply turned and handed the ball to Hill, who made sure LSU (10-3) would not lose.

"Anthony in his first start was tight," coach Les Miles said, adding that Jennings learned some lessons will be beneficial moving forward with his career.

"He wasn't perfect by any stretch," Miles said. "But he did what he had to do."

Craig Loston's fourth-quarter interception stopped a potential tying drive, giving Hill a chance to put the game out of reach by carrying four times for 87 yards on a six-play, 92-yard march that gave LSU (10-3) a 21-7 lead.

Iowa (8-5) pulled within a touchdown for the second time in 4 minutes after Jordan Cotton returned the ensuing kickoff to the Tigers 4.

Jennings ran for a first-quarter touchdown, but the true freshman struggled to hit open receivers while completing 7 of 19 passes for 82 yards. In addition to throwing an interception that Iowa's John Lowdermilk returned 71 yards, he was sacked four times while standing in for the injured Zach Mettenberger.

C.J. Beathard replaced Jake Rudock at quarterback for Iowa on the first play of the fourth quarter. His fourth-down interception stopped one promising drive, but he also tossed a 4-yard TD pass to Kevonte Martin-Manley that trimmed Iowa's deficit to 21-14 with 1:42 remaining.

Lowdermilk set up Iowa's other TD -- Mark Weisman's 2-yard run in the third quarter -- with his interception return to the LSU 1.

Officials initially ruled Lowdermilk, who was untouched on the return, scored. But the TD was reversed when a replay review determined the Iowa defender dropped the ball before crossing the goal line.

"It was just an embarrassing play, and that's not Iowa Hawkeye football. ... I really regret it and I apologize," Lowdermilk said. "It was just a sickening feeling all around. I was just so happy Mark scored. It was a bonehead play on my part."

The victory enabled LSU to finish with at least 10 wins for a school-record fourth consecutive season. The loss ended Iowa's three-game winning streak.

"Our team wanted to create a legacy, and the seniors wanted to be the first group to win 10 games four years in a row. They wanted to win a bowl championship and they wanted to commit to playing as a team," Miles said. "The hard work that each and every guy has went through, there was no question they were going to play hard together."

Hill, a 235-pound sophomore who rushed with 1,401 yards and 16 TDs this season, averaged 7.7 yards per carry on 28 attempts. On the clinching drive, he delivered runs of 2, 28, 20 and, finally, 37 yards for his second touchdown. He also scored on a 14-yard run in the second quarter.

"Given an opportunity to close out a game, he knows what to do," Miles said.

"I took it on my shoulders that I needed to make plays to win the football game," Hill said. "Great players have that mentality."

Iowa was back in a bowl after staying at home with a 4-8 record in 2012. The Hawkeyes' four regular-season losses came to nationally ranked Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Northern Illinois, teams that took a combined record of 45-6 into the Rose, Orange, Capital One and Poinsettia bowls.

LSU's first trip to Tampa since 1989, when the Outback was known as the Hall of Fame Bowl, capped another successful season under Les Miles, but one that fell short of expectations for a program accustomed to contending for national titles.

Besides a three-touchdown loss to Alabama, the Tigers dropped three-point decisions to SEC rivals Georgia and Mississippi, while also displaying their potential by being the only team to defeat No. 2 Auburn during the regular season.

Jennings came off the bench in the closing minutes to finish a comeback victory over Arkansas in the regular-season finale, leading a 99-yard game-winning drive that he finished with a 49-yard TD pass.

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