TAMPA – Florida quarterback Austin Appleby will face a familiar opponent when he takes the field against Iowa in Monday’s Outback Bowl.
Before he transferred from Purdue to Florida, Appleby played against Iowa three times. He made his college debut against the Hawkeyes in 2013; Monday, he’ll complete his career against the same opponent.
“It’s pretty cool – just kind of take it all in and remember where it started and where I am and it’s pretty cool to come full circle against the Hawkeyes,” Appleby said earlier this week. “First touchdown and hopefully I’ll have a couple to end on.”
Appleby’s last meeting with the Hawkeyes resulted in a 40-20 loss for Purdue last season. Despite the loss, he had a solid outing, going 23-of-40 for 259 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions.
Does Iowa’s familiarity with Appleby give them an edge? Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz doesn’t think so.
“He played pretty well against us last year, quite frankly, so I’m not real enthusiastic about seeing him again,” Ferentz said. “It’s not like we’ve got a great memory from last year’s game, unfortunately.”
Appleby knows first-hand that Iowa’s defense, particularly a secondary headed by cornerback Desmond King, a potential first-round pick, will pose a tough challenge.
“They’ve got some playmakers on the back end,,” Appleby said. “ … We’ve got to get everything established up front.”
Appleby said he’s been preparing to start every day following Florida’s lopsided 54-16 loss to Alabama in the SEC championship game.
“I hang my hat on being the most prepared quarterback in the country as far as my preparation goes during the week,” Appleby said. “Trying to affect my guys in a positive way, I know they’re counting on me to have all the answers out there.”
(You can follow Olivia Stacey on Twitter @Olivia_Stacey)
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