The Outback Bowl is personal for Iowa wide receiver Brandon Smith. The lone Mississippi native on the Hawkeyes’ roster wants to have a great outing against Mississippi State on Jan. 1.

Smith comes from a house divided, his mother attending Ole Miss and his father going to Mississippi State. He was a regular attendee at the annual Egg Bowl, claiming to be on his mom’s side and pulling for the Rebels.

With the Hawkeyes taking on the Bulldogs in Tampa, Smith and his mother will hear a familiar sound, one that they’d prefer never to hear again.

“The cowbell is loud and obnoxious,” Smith said prior to the Outback Bowl. “My mom really hates those cowbells.”

Smith has been a rising star for the Hawkeyes in the passing attack. He’s hauled in some impressive catches this season, showing off his athleticism and knack for finding the football several times throughout the year. In 12 games, he caught 25 passes for 328 yards and two touchdowns.

But this one means a little more to Smith. It’s a chance to show off to his friends and family against a hometown team.

“Coming to Iowa, I knew I wasn’t going to play Mississippi State or Ole Miss,” Smith said. “Now that I’m getting a chance, I feel like I have to take this opportunity to do my best and go out there and play hard.

“I feel like we really need to get this win, cuz when I go home I got a lot of friends in my ear if we lose.”

The Hawkeyes finished the season 8-4 and is looking for its second straight bowl victory. This will be the first time Iowa and Mississippi State have played on the field.