TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Iowa Hawkeyes lost a yard on the last play of the Outback Bowl, pushing their final rushing total to minus 15 yards, and didn’t mind a bit. They ran the play from victory formation. Safety Jake Gervase’s interception in the end zone helped preserve a late lead, and a ball-hawking defense compensated for a sputtering offense as Iowa beat No. 18 Mississippi State 27-22 on Tuesday.

Gervase also batted down an errant fourth-down pass to end the Bulldogs’ final drive at the Iowa 32 with 25 seconds left. Two earlier Mississippi State threats in the fourth quarter led to only three points.

The Hawkeyes totaled just 199 yards, with 75 coming on a touchdown pass from Nathan Stanley to Nick Easley, but they converted three takeaways into 17 points.

The Hawkeyes won despite losing 27 inches per rush. Their three running backs totaled 4 yards in 15 carries.

Stanley will be a third-year starter returning to lead the 2019 Hawkeyes, who also will have their top three rushers back. They open the season Aug. 31 at home against Miami (Ohio).

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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