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December 20, 2010

Insight Matchups: Defensive Line

Missouri and Iowa are set to meet for the first time in 100 years. Leading up to the December 28th Insight Bowl, we will give Tiger and Hawkeye fans an in-depth look at every position on the field.

Each day until kickoff, we will highlight a different position on the field. PowerMizzou.com publisher Gabe DeArmond and HawkeyeReport.com publisher Tom Kakert will give fans the scoop on the key players to watch as the Tigers and Hawkeyes hook up for the 2010 season finale.

Hawkeyes Defensive Line
Projected starters: DE: Adrian Clayborn, DT: Karl Klug, DT: Mike Daniels, DE: Christian Ballard

Key Player: Adrian Clayborn

Key Stat: Last year the Hawkeyes defensive line combined for 53.5 tackles for loss, including 23.5 quarterback sacks. This year they combined for 36 tackles for loss, including 17 sacks.

Analysis: Coming into the season the Hawkeye defensive line was touted by most college football experts as one of the best in the nation, if not the best. While they haven't played poorly, they fell short of expectations in terms of sacks and tackles for loss. Adrian Clayborn was a marked man coming off an outstanding junior season and faced double teams most of the season. They will run a five man rotation up front with Broderick Binns figuring in the mix, which allows Ballard to move down to tackle from time to time. Mike Daniels has been a real force in the middle of the line this year. Neither he or Klug are big, but they are quick and powerful. Iowa's defensive line played outstanding football last year in the Orange Bowl and this bowl game provides a chance to get a bit of redemption.

Tigers Defensive Line
Projected starters: DE: Aldon Smith, DT: Jimmy Burge, DT: Terrell Resonno, DE: Jacquies Smith

Key Player: Aldon Smith

Key Stat: The Tigers piled up 38 sacks this season, which is the most they have ever had under Gary Pinkel.

Analysis: Missouri has a stable of defensive ends that can stack up against any in the country. Aldon Smith is a redshirt sophomore who may have the opportunity to go pro after this game. Jacquies Smith has stepped up his production this year. And Missouri is deep enough that reserve Brad Madison leads the team in sacks and the other second-stringer, Michael Sam, was a Rivals.com second-team freshman all-American. The question mark is at defensive tackle. Dominique Hamilton broke his ankle against Oklahoma and the Tigers are thin in the middle. They will often times go with an alignment that includes three or even four defensive ends to help hide that depth. The line has been good, but at times is susceptible to a power run game up the middle.

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