ORLANDO – No. 21 Tennessee shutout No. 17 Iowa, 35-0, in the 2024 Cheez-It Citrus Bowl as true freshman quarterback Nico Iamaleava shined in his first-career start, accounting for four touchdowns in the Vols’ second straight bowl win.
Iamaleava made his first start for the Vols against Iowa’s stout defense that had held opponents to just 13.2 points per game (fourth in FBS) and 274.8 yards per game (fifth in FBS). He guided Tennessee’s offense to 383 total yards against the Hawkeyes.
The Cheez-It Citrus Bowl MVP, Iamaleava went 12-of-19 for 151 yards and a touchdown through the air, while totaling three touchdowns on the ground to go along with 27 yards rushing.
Sophomore running back Dylan Sampson also made his first-career start for Tennessee on New Year’s Day, carrying the ball 20 times for 133 yards. Freshman tailback Cameron Seldon saw his most action of the season as he picked up 55 yards on 13 carries.
Tennessee (9-4) had a dominating performance on the defensive side of the ball as it shut out Iowa. Edge James Pearce Jr. led the charge for UT’s defense as he recorded three tackles, a sack, forced a fumble and returned an interception for a touchdown. Sophomore defensive lineman Tyre West added 1.5 sacks as Tennessee pressured the Hawkeyes throughout the game.
Iowa (10-4) allowed five sacks on the day as the Big Ten West Champion was held scoreless for the second consecutive game and the third time this season.