When Iowa was riding a four-game losing streak a few weeks ago, not many thought the Hawkeyes would qualify for a bowl game.
Coach Hayden Fry did, though.
"I've never lost faith," he said after Iowa defeated Minnesota, 45-3, Saturday at Iowa City. "Our guys kept the faith. I can't put into words how proud I am of my football team."
Iowa Athletic Director Bob Bowlsby said, "I presume Iowa is in a bowl. All indications are that we will be in El Paso."
The Sun Bowl is scheduled for Dec. 29 at El Paso. The Liberty and Independence bowls are also possibilities.
Fry, who has taken Iowa to 11 bowls in 16 seasons, said he didn't expect to hear until today if the Hawkeyes would be invited to a bowl.
"They've got a pecking order," he said. "There's no such thing as a bad bowl."
Matt Sherman threw two touchdown passes and Damani Shakoor came off the bench to run for 90 yards and two scores to help lead the Hawkeyes, who finished the regular season 7-4 overall and 4-4 in the Big Ten.
Iowa nose guard Lloyd Bickham said, "We lost to Northwestern and all the guys thought that was a game we could have won. So we decided to build on it instead of letting it hold us back."
The Golden Gophers (3-8, 1-7), who had been averaging 415 yards and 27 points a game, gained only 217 yards as they suffered their seventh consecutive defeat.
Wisconsin 3, Illinois 3--Brett Scheuplein's 54-yard field-goal attempt fell short with 39 seconds left and the Illini settled for a tie at Madison, Wis.
Scheuplein was good from 51 yards with 8:13 left to erase a 3-0 Wisconsin lead.
The tie left Illinois (5-5-1, 3-4-1) one victory short of qualifying for a bowl invitation. Wisconsin finished 4-5-2, 3-4-1 just two seasons after winning the Rose Bowl.
The architect of that Rose Bowl season, senior quarterback Darrell Bevell, a four-year starter who set 17 school passing records, was carted off the field with 2:58 remaining. It appeared he aggravated bruised ribs on a handoff.