Outback sales nearing 50,000, official says

TAMPA, Fla. – Iowa is 600 ticket sales away from selling out its allotment to the Outback Bowl and ticket sales for the game are nearing the 50,000 mark.

The Hawkeyes have bought 10,900 tickets of their 11,500 allotment, said Pam Finke, Iowa’s director of ticket operations, on Thursday. Sales have dwindled over the last week. Iowa has sold about 700 tickets over the last nine days, according to Finke’s figure.

LSU, allotted 12,000 tickets, had sold about 6,000 as of Dec. 17. Brian Broussard, LSU’s director of ticket operations, did not return a message Thursday.

The Outback Bowl separately sells tickets. Mike Schulze, the bowl’s director of communications, said the ticket sales are in the “high 40s” and that he expects the number to reach 50,000 soon.

Raymond James Stadium has a capacity of 65,857.

LSU fans can order from the school’s allotment by visiting lsutix.net or calling the ticket office at (800) 960-8587 or (225) 578-2184 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

LSU is responsible for any unsold tickets, a normal bowl practice.

LSU last year sold 10,500 of its allotted 16,000 Chick-fil-A Bowl tickets. A Southeastern Conference insurance policy reimbursed LSU for the cost of about 4,000 tickets, but the school still had to pay for $176,300 in unsold tickets.

Handing it off

LSU’s receivers aren’t alone in adjusting to true freshman quarterback Anthony Jennings.

Don’t leave out Jeremy Hill and the running backs.

While LSU’s receivers are acclimating to Jennings’ new passing style, the tailbacks are adjusting to a different kind of handoff. The biggest thing: the height differential between the 6-foot-5 Zach Mettenberger, out with a knee injury, and the 6-2 Jennings.

“It’s different,” said Hill. “Every quarterback does it differently, especially at different heights. They hand it to you at different levels.”

LSU’s receivers said last week that they’re adjusting to Jennings’ passes, which are not thrown as hard or accurate as Mettenberger’s.

Dogs again

For a 10th time in 11 postseason appearances under coach Kirk Ferentz, Iowa is an underdog.

LSU is a seven-to-eight point favorite over the Hawkeyes as of Thursday.

That shouldn’t faze Ferentz and his players.

Iowa has won six of 10 bowls under Ferentz, five of the six as underdogs.

“We always play with that chip on our shoulder,” Iowa lineman Brett Van Sloten said according to hawkcentral.com. “Coach always says the most hungry team will win.”

Lagniappe

LSU will be the home team and will wear white jerseys against Iowa, Schulze said. The bowl alternates home and away between the two conference tie-ins. The Big Ten was home last year. … Former Buccaneers coach John Gruden watched Iowa’s practice Thursday. Gruden is part of the Monday Night Football broadcast team that will call the Outback Bowl. That team includes play-by-play man Mike Tirico and sideline reporter Lisa Salters.