For the 2nd time in 4 seasons, Kentucky is headed back to the Citrus Bowl. The last trip ended with a season-capping victory over Penn State, on Jan. 1, 2019, and the Wildcats look to continue a 16 game non-conference winning streak against the Iowa Hawkeyes. Here are 5 things to know about Iowa.

1) They had a good safety once

OK, comic understatement, but of course, UK head coach Mark Stoops is Big Blue Nation’s favorite Hawkeye alum. A younger, better coiffed versus of Stoops patrolled the Iowa secondary from 1986 to 1988. Statistics are not exactly plentiful, but Stoops nabbed at least 2 interceptions as a Hawkeye, and cut his teeth learning defense under legendary Iowa coach Hayden Fry. And Fry hired Stoops as a graduate assistant for 2 seasons, starting the chain of events that ended in Stoops becoming a Kentucky football legend.

2) Iowa has never played Kentucky and never played in the Citrus Bowl

Given the meager nature of Kentucky’s football history, it’s surprising for the Wildcats to make a major bowl game and see a foe who has played there even less than UK. But that is the situation with Iowa, which will make its first Citrus Bowl appearance. That said, Iowa is 17-15-1 in its bowl history, and 9-8 in bowls under current coach Kirk Ferentz.

3) Ferentz is a wonderful role model for Mark Stoops

When Iowa finally had to replace the venerable Fry, they went outside the program and nabbed Ferentz, who is the longest-tenured current coach in major college football. Iowa hired Ferentz on Dec. 2, 1998. His only prior head coaching experience was at Maine, where Ferentz had gone 12-21 in 3 seasons. But with the Hawkeyes, he is 178-109 and led them to 5 seasons finishing in the top 10 in both major polls. Not unlike Stoops at Kentucky, Rome wasn’t built in a day. The Hawkeyes went 1-10, then 3-9, then 7-5 before reaching 11-2 in Ferentz’s 4th season … and that was almost two decades ago. Staying at one school forever seems like a fine modus operandi.

4) Iowa’s offense has been offensive

So slugging it out in the Big Ten, reaching the conference title game and the Citrus Bowl, means that Iowa must have an offense that has been … well, extremely fortunate might be the best word. Iowa ranks 111th of 130 FBS teams in rushing yardage and averages under 3.3 yards per carry. And in passing, Iowa is 110th at 177.7 yards per game. Overall, the Hawkeyes are sitting at 123rd in total yardage, churning out 297.5 yards per game. Kentucky’s secondary might audibly breathe a sigh of relief from reading that. So how did the Hawkeyes win 10 games?

5) Their defense is turnover city

Now for the bad news, particularly for a UK team that is next to worst in FBS with a minus-13 turnover margin: Iowa is 2nd in the nation in that category at plus-14. The Hawkeyes forced 30 turnovers this season, 3rd best in FBS, and their 24 interceptions are the most, 5 ahead of the 2nd place team in that stat. Somehow, Iowa did have 3 games with a negative turnover margin, and they were 1-2 in those games. But they went 9-1 when breaking even or better on turnovers. Kentucky managed just 6 interceptions all season. Iowa had 6 in one game, against Maryland.