Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Insight Bowl keys
By Adam Rittenberg
Here are three keys for Iowa heading into Tuesday night's Insight Bowl matchup against Missouri:
Pressure Blaine Gabbert: Iowa doesn't have enough firepower to keep up with Missouri in a shootout. The Hawkeyes need their veteran defensive line to get in Gabbert's face all game long. They're tied for third in the Big Ten with 20 sacks and will look for big performances from end Adrian Clayborn and others. If Gabbert has time to throw, Iowa will be in big trouble.
Establish some type of run game: This won't be easy without Adam Robinson, as true freshman Marcus Coker looks like Iowa's only option in the run game. But the Hawkeyes don't want to put Ricky Stanzi in too many obvious passing situations against Missouri's speedy pass rushers. Iowa averaged just 91 rush yards in its final three games and will need to find some gaps in the Tigers' defense to set up the play-action pass.
Avoid special teams miscues: Of all the shocking things out of Iowa's season, the mistakes in the kicking game might be at the top of the list. Iowa simply can't afford breakdowns in this game, especially with a shorthanded offense. Missouri boasts strong specialists but isn't strong in the return game. The Hawkeyes will miss Derrell Johnson-Koulianos on kickoff returns.