Insight Bowl: Ricky Stanzi and Hawkeyes Take Flight Against the Missouri Tigers

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Insight Bowl: Ricky Stanzi and Hawkeyes Take Flight Against the Missouri Tigers
David Purdy/Getty Images

In the current BCS Standings the Missouri Tigers hold the No. 12 spot and look to improve on that ranking with a victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes in Tempe, AZ.

The latest college football odds for this bowl game posted by BetPhoenix have the Tigers labeled as three point favorites with the total set at 46.5. The odds are surprising considering the fact that Missouri is ranked, but it reflects how even these two teams are.

The Tigers have a ten—win season with only two excusable losses to Nebraska and Texas Tech. The strength of this team is surprisingly the defense, which is one of the top scoring defenses in the country, ranking sixth overall with 15.2 points allowed per game.

Although the defense looks good on paper, it may be a bit misleading. They built up their stats by beating down some weaker opponents like Miami (OH), McNeese State, and Colorado. When they faced quality opponents like Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Kansas State they allowed at least 28 points. An indication of just how overrated they are is in the number of yards they give up per game at 350.7. They have made up for this weakness by causing turnovers and sacking the quarterback.

This defense will have to be effective if they want to stop Ricky Stanzi, perhaps the best signal caller to ever suit up for the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Stanzi has enjoyed a great year under center, completing 64.8 percent of his passes for 2,804 yards and 25 touchdowns. He excels at protecting the ball and making smart passes as evident by just four interceptions on the season with over 300 attempts.

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The offense will be shorthanded for this game as running back Adam Robinson and first team All—Big Ten wideout Derrell Johnson—Koulianos, will miss the game due to violations. Stanzi will still have the services of wide receiver Marvin McNutt, who is Stanzi’s favorite target this year with 51 catches, 798 yards, and eight touchdowns. The difference in this game could come down to the intangibles.

The Hawkeyes are well coached by Kirk Ferentz and play mistake—free football. They are seventh in fewest penalty yards at 38.9 per game and tied for 21st in fewest penalties per game with just 5.1.

Missouri has trouble protecting their quarterback, Blaine Gabbert. He has been sacked 36 times this season including 12 the last three weeks and Iowa could take advantage of this glaring chink in the Tigers armor.

The Tigers are 5—12 against the spread (ATS) against a team with a winning record and 2—5 ATS in their last seven games at a neutral site games as a favorite.

The Hawkeyes are 15—6—1 ATS against a team with a winning record and 7—2 ATS in their last nine non—conference games. The Hawkeyes are 9—1 ATS on the road against a team with a winning record and will get the victory in the Insight bowl.

Iowa is very good at holding on to the pigskin and will win this game due to a great game by Stanzi under center.

Matt Regaw is a B/R Featured Columnist and the founder of BookieBlitz.com, your one-stop shop for sports articles, previews and predictions. Feel free to contact Matt at mregaw@gmail.com.

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