Insight Bowl Preview
By Guest Blogger Tyler Fenwick:
The Big-12 faces off against the Big-10 in a key bowl game for conference bragging rights. For a while, it was very unclear who would be playing in this game, but it was made official that Iowa is to play Missouri.
Missouri is a heavy favorite through the eyes of the nation, as they are going up against a recently cold Hawkeyes team.
Iowa finished their season with three straight losses that knocked them right out the rankings. But, despite the recent mishaps on both sides of the ball, Iowa is one of those teams who has the talent to really flip the switch heading into the post-season.
Meanwhile, Missouri really couldn’t ask for much more momentum heading into this one. Despite back-to-back losses in the middle of the season, the Tigers finished storing with three straight wins to close out the season. And the of course there was the upset over Alabama late in October.
In my mind, the only way Iowa really has a shot at this one is to put the ball in the hands of Ricky Stanzi.
He’s one of the more accurate quarterbacks in the Big Ten, completing 64% of his passes. Plus, he may be the most improved, going from interceptions in 2009 to only four so far this year.
Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to see some production from that secondary. Don’t get me wrong. Iowa has one of the best defenses in the nation, but Blaine Gabbert is a very productive quarterback for the Tigers.
Sticking with Blaine Gabbert, he doesn’t necissarily need to have an all-star game.
If he could find even the slightest rhythem, that could open up room for runningbacks De’Vion Moore and Henry Josey.
Together, they have only combined for 900 yards. Production from the backs though is going to be key. You can’t let a defense like Iowa’s know what you’re doing 80% of the time.
What can we expect? Expect to see a good fight in this one. This will be a classic case to prove that the only rankings that matter, come bowl time, are #1 and #2. The rest can pretty much be forgotten.
Stanzi should have a great outing, and I think they might find some occasional success running the ball with Robinson.
But even all of that may not be enough if the Tigers can find 100-125 yards on the ground. It would be just enough to keep the defense honost, allowing a nice, balanced attack.
If Iowa is able to pull the upst, it will have to be because of defense. Shutting down Gabbert would be huge.
Keep in mind, Iowa carries an advantage in one category with having really nothing to lose. They can only gain from this situation, while the Tigers are trying to lock down an 11 win season.