Primetime College Football: Insight Bowl
This game goes down on the ESPN network and it features the University of Missouri Tigers taking on the University of Iowa Hawkeyes in the 22nd annual Insight Bowl in Arizona at Sun Devil Stadium.
Missouri, 10-2, 6-2 Big 12, suffered back to back losses to keep them from going perfect on the season but did earn a share of the Big 12 North Division title for the third time in the last four seasons. Head coach Gary Pinkel’s Tigers posses a solid offense that averages 30 ppg and 401.1 total ypg. The Tigers have a balanced attack of rushing for 162.9 ypg and throwing for 238.2 ypg more with 26 touchdowns coming on the ground and 16 through the air.
Quarterback Blaine Gabbert controls the Tigers and he has completed 62.2 percent of his pass attempts for 2,752 yards, with 15 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. He has also rushed for 4 touchdowns. Gabbert’s often uses his tight end Michael Egnew as his number one option as he leads the team with 83 catches that have gone for 698 yards and 4 touchdowns. If Egnew is covered Gabbert will look in the direction of wide receiver T.J. Moe who has 77 receptions for 893 yards and 6 touchdowns.
In the backfield, the Tigers don’t have a single rusher that has topped 500 yards yet.
Iowa, 7-5, 4-4 Big Ten, meanwhile was ranked in the Top 10 this year, but now finds itself unranked heading into the bowl season. The Hawkeyes ended the regular season with three consecutive losses, all by four points or less, costing the program a chance at the Big Ten title.
Iowa’s strength on offense comes from its ability to protect the ball, committing a total of just 9turnovers and it all starts with quarterback Ricky Stanzi. The senior has thrown a total of just 4 interceptions while completing 64.8 percent of his passes for 2,804 yards and 25 touchdowns.
Head coach Kirk Ferentz will field a team without some of it’s best weapons like the schools all time leading wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, who was suspended following a drug-related arrest. Meaning the attention will now have to be focused onto Marvin McNutt who had 51 catches and 798 receiving yards to go with 8 touchdowns.
The Hawkeyes issued another suspension to a key player in running back Adam Robinson, who led the team with 941 yards and 10 touchdowns. True freshman Marcus Coker made three starts and ran for 403 yards during the season but now the spotlight will solely be on him.
Missouri is 12-15 all-time in bowl games, including one previous appearance in the Insight Bowl back in 1998. Iowa own a 13-10-1 all-time record including a 24-14 win over Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl last season. Missouri holds a 7-5 edge over Iowa, but the teams haven’t met since 1910.
PICK: University of Iowa Hawkeyes