Kentucky went into the Music City Bowl game with Iowa having high hopes of coming away with a victory over the Big Ten representative. Unfortunately for head coach Mark Stoops, the Iowa defense throttled the Wildcats for 60 minutes and the Hawkeyes registered a 21-0 blanking.

Stoops was philosophical after the game when he met the media. “Iowa won today by being Iowa,” Stoops said.

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Stoops was talking about the Hawkeyes playing a relatively simple game by taking care of the ball and not turning it over, doing an effective job on special teams and playing a dominant level of defense.

The Wildcats did an excellent job on defense themselves, limiting Iowa to 67 rushing yards and 139 passing yards. That was not good enough to keep Kentucky in the game.

The Hawkeyes were able to put two defensive touchdowns on the board as defensive backs Xavier Nwankpa and Cooper DeJean each returned interceptions for touchdowns.

After Iowa quarterback Joe Labas threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Luke Lachey early in the second quarter to open the scoring, Nwankpa returned an interception from Destin Wade 52 yards for a touchdown. Shortly after that, DeJean returned another Wade interception 14 yards for a score.

All three touchdowns came in the second quarter, and the Wildcats were never able to come through with any kind of response — other than limiting the Hawkeyes offense.

In addition to the defensive touchdowns, the Hawkeyes got a big lift from punter Tory Taylor, who averaged 48.3 yards on 8 punts, and placed 6 of them inside the 20-yard line.

Mark Stoops provided perfect analysis of the way Iowa plays college football and has for years.