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December 28, 2010

One bowl, two guys, three keys

TEMPE, AZ--Kickoff is just hours away. Our staff has covered every Tiger practice and analyzed the Insight Bowl from every conceivable angle. For the final word before the game, check out our keys to the Tigers coming home from the desert with their 11th win of the season.

Insight Bowl Keys to Victory
Key No. 1

Gabe Says: Make them blitz. The Hawkeyes have the best defensive line Missouri has seen this season. If their four can beat Missouri's five off the line, the Tiger offense isn't going to do much of anything. The Tiger offensive line is on the spot, particularly Elvis Fisher against Adrian Clayborn.

Pete Says: Don't give up on the run.

While Missouri has been fantastic rushing the ball the final three games of the year, Iowa has the nation's No. 6-rushing defense. Odds on the ground might be stacked against the Tigers, but the offense cannot become one-dimensional against a team like the Hawkeyes. Even if they aren't picking up tons of yards, Missouri can't go away from the run game.

Gabe Says: McNutt Up. The only proven skill position player the Hawkeyes have in this game is wideout Marvin McNutt. He is the one the Tigers must take away. Make someone, anyone, else prove they can beat you. Iowa is missing three of its top four running backs as well as its best receiver. McNutt is proven. Very few others are.

Pete Says: Move the ball consistently through the air. Iowa is also good against the pass, so the Tigers can't keep firing deep, hoping for long touchdowns. Gabbert needs to complete the short throws and let his receivers pick up more yardage, extending drives and keeping Stanzi off the field.

Key No. 3

Gabe Says: Play like it matters The last bowl game the Tigers played, they didn't. Missouri didn't want to be in the Texas Bowl against Navy and anyone that watched the game could tell. Iowa may be 7-and-5, but the Hawkeyes deserve the Tigers' attention. If Missouri thinks it will win by rolling out the helmets, another long off-season of lament awaits. Last year, Missouri looked interested for about three plays. This year, they'd better at least give it a shot for three quarters.

Pete Says: Focus. Goes along with what Gabe says. This game isn't going to be handed to Missouri, despite Iowa's recent problems. Missouri needs to play this game for next year. A convincing win could propel them to a preseason top-ten ranking. An embarrassing loss would drop them considerably..

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