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2010 Insight Bowl Prediction: This Could Get Ugly For Iowa

The Iowa Hawkeyes are going into their Insight Bowl match-up against the Missouri Tigers a bit shorthanded, as they've lost a couple of key players to suspensions. Wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos and leading rusher Adam Robinson were both suspended for this game, Johnson-Koulianos for reasons connected to substance abuse, and Robinson for the more nebulous "failing to comply with team expectations and policies."

These two suspensions are going to greatly hinder the Iowa offense, led by quarterback Ricky Stanzi. The rushing attack will now have to be carried by freshman Marcus Coker, who has a lot of power as a runner, but isn't terribly seasoned and would need very good blocking from an offensive line that hasn't come together the way Kirk Ferentz and company have needed them to this year. Missouri's red zone defense is pretty tough as it is, but without Robinson and Johnson-Koulianos available to them, things inside the 20 are going to be that much more difficult for the Hawkeyes. Also, the absence of Johnson-Koulianos will have a big effect on the Hawkeyes' return game as well, as he is one of the nation's better players in that category.

Missouri, on the other hand, is led by one of the nation's premiere quarterbacks in junior Blaine Gabbert. Gabbert has matured a lot in his junior year, and is a threat both with his arm and with his feet. He's not that fast, but he is smart about when to run the ball and about what to do when he gets into space. He leads an up-tempo Missouri attack that should be successful at wearing down an Iowa defense that doesn't have a whole lot of depth up front, and could get tired from having to chase Gabbert all over the field as he looks for receivers T.J. Moe, Jerrell Jackson, Wes Kemp, and hybrid TE Michael Egnew, who leads the team in receiving yards.

If Iowa had their full complement of offensive weapons, then they'd probably be a good bet to win this one. However, a lack of offensive options and a lack of defensive depth should lead to a victory for Missouri, as Gabbert should prove to be too much for the Hawkeyes to handle.

SB Nation Minnesota prediction: Missouri 31, Iowa 20

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.