Insight Bowl 2010: 10 Things You Need to Know About Missouri vs. Iowa

Brandon Cavanaugh@ IDecember 12, 2010

Insight Bowl 2010: 10 Things You Need to Know About Missouri vs. Iowa

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    On the surface, the Insight Bowl isn't the sexiest match up of the season.

    Still, the game may provide an entertaining slug-fest, after all.

    The BCS No. 12 Missouri Tigers (10-2) and the battle-tested Iowa Hawkeyes (7-5) will provide a look at two programs facing conference changes in 2011.

    What could a Missouri win accomplish for the Tigers in regards to establishing dominance in the "new" Big 12?

    Can Iowa clamp down on Missouri’s offense and send quarterback Ricky Stanzi out a winner?

    Just how much yellow can one television broadcast contain?

    Let’s review.

1: Missouri Looking To Make a Statement

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    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    There was talk of Missouri moving to the Big Ten Conference along with Nebraska earlier this year, but obviously, that never materialized.

    The Tigers won’t be able to slip by any other Big 12 opponents in the regular season starting in 2011 due to the removal of divisions.

    The time to make a statement is now.

    Texas is on the ropes and the Tigers themselves toppled Oklahoma.

    If Missouri can tackle the annual top two conference programs, who isn’t to say that they won’t be the first “new” Big 12 representative in the BCS?

    The best part for the Missouri program and its fans is that the Insight Bowl isn’t just a chance to get their 11th win of the year.

    Being paired up opposite a Big Ten team gives the Tigers an opportunity to land a shot to not only the Hawkeyes’ conference, but the Nebraska Cornhuskers’ new home.

    A little insult to injury would suit Missouri just fine.

    A victory could turn out to be a huge feather in the Tigers’ cap for the coming months.

2: Iowa's Chance For Some Payback

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    David Purdy/Getty Images

    Iowa’s 25th bowl appearance comes after bashing through a brutal Big Ten schedule.

    Unfortunately, the Hawkeyes didn’t finish the regular season unscathed.

    Iowa dropped their initial game versus a ranked opponent at No. 24 Arizona 34-27.

    The Hawkeyes then went on a three-game winning streak including a win over No. 22 Penn State.

    A heart-breaking 31-30 loss to eventual conference co-champion Wisconsin was followed by a win over another conference co-champion, Michigan State.

    The 37-6 victory over the Spartans was Iowa’s most dominant of the season.

    Every game since has been one disappointment after another.

    An always scrappy Northwestern squad snuck by Iowa 21-17.

    The No. 9 Ohio State Buckeyes crushed black and gold hearts by a score of 20-17.

    Finally, in perhaps the most humiliating defeat of 2010, the Hawkeyes lost to Big Ten cellar dweller Minnesota.

    On a three-game skid, Iowa would love nothing more than to send Missouri, a team with 40 wins in the past three seasons, back to Columbia with a loss.

3: Both Coaches Need the Win

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    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    With the exit of Colorado and Nebraska, Gary Pinkel leads the most impressive team left from the Big 12's former North division.

    Given, that’s a title won by default, but that doesn’t make Pinkel’s situation going into 2011 any less advantageous.

    While he will still have to battle teams like Nebraska for talent in his own backyard, in some cases, a chance to play in the Big 12 may trump that of other conferences.

    Say what you will about a recruit’s desire to go up against tough competition.

    Sometimes winning BCS conference championships and going to big-time bowls via a less daunting schedule is a more attractive prospect.

    With a win over Iowa, Pinkel can parlay the future of the Tigers’ program into that of a true conference contender.

    For Kirk Ferentz and Iowa, a win over Missouri is about stopping the bleeding.

    A loss to Northwestern is forgivable to a point.

    The Wildcats always seem to find the ability to sneak up on an opponent or two per season somehow.

    The loss to Ohio State was unfortunate, but we’re talking about a BCS-level opponent.

    Minnesota? That can’t be spun positively no matter how you try.

    For Iowa, the Insight Bowl is also about making a statement for the following season.

    Missouri will be looking to put its now-smaller conference on notice.

    They’re ready to play with the big boys on a consistent basis.

    Iowa, on the other hand, wants to prove that they have, can and will again.

4: Missouri's Key Offensive Players

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    Missouri Quarterback Blaine GabbertJamie Squire/Getty Images

    QB Blaine Gabbert: 260-of-418 (62.2% Comp.), 2,752 yards, 15 TD, 7 INT

    RB De’Vion Moore: 93 carries for 485 yards (5.2 YPC) and 8 TD

    WR T.J. Moe: 77 catches for 893 yards and 6 TD

    WR Michael Egnew: 83 catches for 698 yards and 4 TD

5: Iowa's Key Offensive Players

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    Iowa Quarterback Ricky StanziDavid Purdy/Getty Images

    QB Ricky Stanzi: 210-of-324 (64.8% Comp.), 2,804 yards, 25 TD and 4 INT

    RB Adam Robinson: 203 carries for 941 yards (4.6 YPC) and 10 TDs

    WR Marvin McNutt: 51 catches for 798 yards and 10 TDs

6: Missouri's Key Defensive Players

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    Missouri Free Safety Kenji Jackson (#13)Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    LB Andrew Gachkar: 81 TKL (48 Solo), 8.5 TFL, 1 SCK, 2 INT, 4 PBU, 2 FR, 2 FF, 2 BLK

    LB Zaviar Gooden: 79 TKL (33 Solo), 7.5 TFL, 3 SCK, 3 INT, 4 BU, 2 FR, 1 FF

    FS Kenji Jackson: 59 TKL (44 Solo), 3.5 TFL, 2 INT, 3 PBU, 1 FF

7: Iowa's Key Defensive Players

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    Iowa Defensive End Adrian ClaybornDavid Purdy/Getty Images

    DE Adrian Clayborn: 51 TKL (18 Solo), 7 TFL, 3.5 SCK, 1 PBU, 1 PD, 6 QBH, 1 FF, 1 BLK

    DB Shaun Prater: 59 TKL (41 Solo), 0.5 TFL, 4 INT, 5 PBU, 9 PD, 1 FR

    DB Tyler Sash: 73 TKL (35 Solo) 2.5 TFL, 2 INT, 2 PBU, 4 PD

8: Head-To-Head Statistics Matchup

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    Iowa Rushing Offense: No. 76 (142 YPG)

    Missouri Rushing Defense: No. 56 (147 YPG)

    Iowa Passing Offense: No. 45 (237 YPG)

    Missouri Passing Defense: No. 38 (204 YPG)

    Missouri Rushing Offense: No. 48 (163 YPG)

    Iowa Rushing Defense: Tie-No. 6 (104 YPG)

    Missouri Passing Offense: No. 43 (238 YPG)

    Iowa Passing Defense: No. 55 (214 YPG)

    Missouri Scoring Offense: No. 44 (30 PPG)

    Iowa Scoring Defense: No. 7 (16 PPG)

    Iowa Scoring Offense: No. 49 (29 PPG)

    Missouri Scoring Defense: No. 6 (15 PPG)

9: Missouri Will Win If...

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Iowa can't play four quarters of crisp football.

    In the Hawkeyes’ past three games, they lost by combined 10 points.

    Those games were all decided in the fourth quarter.

    Should Missouri jump out to an early lead, they can shatter an already fragile Iowa confidence.

    T.J. Moe has been an invaluable weapon for the Tigers.

    Look for Gary Pinkel to try to get the ball in his hands as much as possible.

10: Iowa Will Win If...

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    David Purdy/Getty Images

    They keep T.J. Moe in check and Adam Robinson runs wild.

    Moe has been the undoing of several Missouri opponents.

    Combine his athleticism with quarterback Blaine Gabbert’s accuracy and you have a recipe for success.

    Fortunately, Gabbert can be forced into making mistakes.

    Iowa defensive backs Prater and Sash should be able to allow the Hawkeye defensive front to rattle Gabbert if they can play to their First Team All-Big Ten status.

    The Missouri defensive line has shown that a running back like Robinson can make a living between the tackles.

    Just ask Nebraska Cornhuskers running back Roy Helu, Jr. who racked up a school-record 307 yards on the Tigers' defense.

    Iowa simply need to play disciplined football. No turnovers, limit mistakes, and give whistle-to-whistle effort.

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