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2011 Insight - Oklahoma 31, Iowa 14

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Dec 31, 2011


2011-2012 Bowls - CFN's Preview & Prediction for the 2011 Insight Bowl

2011 Insight

Oklahoma 31, Iowa 14

- 2011-2012 CFN Bowl Central

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National Rankings
I O
70th Total Offense 4th
67th Total Defense 61st
53rd Scoring Offense 10th
42nd Scoring Defense 36th
77th Rushing Offense 49th
64th Run Defense 49th
57th Passing Offense 4th
69th Passing Defense 83rd
42nd Turnover Margin 80th
Position Rankings
relative to each other
5 Highest - 1 Lowest
I   O
3.5 Quarterbacks 5
1 RBs 3
4 Receivers 4
3 O Line 5
3 D Line 4.5
3 Linebackers 5
3 Secondary 3
3 Spec Teams 3.5
4.5 Coaching 5
Oklahoma 31 … Iowa 14
- CFN Thoughts on the Insight

Oklahoma: Landry Jones completed 16-of-25 passes for 161 yards and a score with a pick … QB Blake Bell led the team with 51 yards and three touchdowns on ten carries. … Kameel Jackson made three catches for 45 yards. … P Tress Way averaged 50.3 yards per kick on six attempts with one put inside the 20. … Jamell Fleming tied for the team lead with seven tackles with a pick and three broken up passes while helping to keep Iowa’s Marvin McNutt to just 46 yards on four catches.

Iowa: James Vandenberg completed 23-of-44 passes for 216 yards and two scores with a pick. … Jordan Canzeri ran 22 times for 59 yards and led the team with six catches for 28 yards and a score. … LB Tyler Nielsen made eight tackles, while DT Mike Daniels made five tackles with two sacks and three tackles for loss.

(AP) TEMPE, Ariz. -- Blake Bell ran for three touchdowns to help No. 19 Oklahoma survive a late rally and a crashing camera to beat Iowa 31-14 in the Insight Bowl Friday night.

Oklahoma (10-3) didn't get a particularly great game from quarterback Landry Jones and wasn't effective on the ground, either. Once considered national-title contenders, the Sooners grinded it out against the gritty Hawkeyes, ending a difficult year that included the death of linebacker Austin Box in the offseason.

Jones threw for 161 yards with a touchdown and an interception, and Bell put the game away with a 21-yard touchdown run with 45 seconds left.

"It means a lot; these guys persevered," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. "(They) came out here tonight and played an excellent game."

Iowa (7-6) fell into a 21-0 hole before rallying behind two touchdown passes from James Vandenberg. The Hawkeyes came up just short and dodged a potential disaster when an overhead camera crashed to the field next to receiver Marvin McNutt in the closing minutes. McNutt became tangled in the wire after the camera landed a few yards behind him, but wasn't hurt. The game was delayed 5 minutes while the camera was dragged off the field.

Vandenberg overcame an early interception to throw for 216 yards, but had two interceptions while the Hawkeyes rushed for just 76 yards to end a school-record three-game bowl winning streak.

Oklahoma's return trip to the desert wasn't expected, at least not this early in the bowl season.

Coming off a rout of Connecticut in last year's Fiesta Bowl, the Sooners were ranked No. 1 in the preseason, with hopes of a second national title under Stoops.

Those aspirations were gone after a string of injuries -- All-American receiver Ryan Broyles' torn ACL was the big one -- and two losses in the final three games, including a 44-10 rout by Bedlam rival Oklahoma State in the Big 12 championship game.

The frustrating run knocked Oklahoma out of not only the national championship chase, but out of a BCS bowl and into the Insight Bowl.

Instead of making a statement in the desert, the Sooners seemed to stand still in the first half, gaining yards in little bits instead of their usual chunks. Oklahoma had just 89 yards on 27 plays in the half, but led 14-0 thanks a pair of 4-yard runs by Bell -- one set up by an interception and another on the Sooners' only sustained drive.

The Sooners finally started to click in the second half.

Oklahoma drove inside Iowa's 10 on its opening drive, though that ended with an acrobatic tip-and-catch interception by Iowa defensive lineman Broderick Binns.

The Sooners kept rolling after that, marching down on their next drive for a 3-yard, play-action touchdown pass from Jones to Trent Ratterree -- breaking a streak of eight straight TDs by Bell -- to go up 21-0.

The Hawkeyes fought back.

Iowa overcame the suspension of its top running back and a favored opponent to win last year's Insight Bowl, beating Missouri 27-24. The Hawkeyes did it behind Marcus Coker, who ran for 219 yards and two touchdowns after replacing suspended starter Adam Robinson.

This time it was Coker who had to watch. The sophomore, who ran for 1,384 yards and 15 touchdowns during the regular season, was suspended for violating the university's student-athlete code of conduct.

Without Coker, Iowa would have to rely on a group of unproven running backs -- none had more than 18 carries -- and lean even more on Vandenberg.

No one was particularly effective in the first half.

Vanderberg was off-target early and had a pass intercepted by Jamell Fleming at Iowa's 31-yard line in the first quarter, then exacerbated the miscue by being called for a late-hit penalty. Bell scored his first touchdown two plays later.

Iowa had just one sustained drive in the first half, but that petered out; the Hawkeyes lost three yards on a fourth-and-1 from Oklahoma's 6-yard line.

Their running game ineffective, the Hawkeyes bumbled around most of the next two quarters before finally moving the ball again late in the third quarter. Vandenberg completed seven of his eight passes on a 75-yard drive, the final an across-his-body throw for a 5-yard touchdown to C.J. Fiedorowicz that cut Oklahoma's lead to 21-7.

Vandenberg then got the Hawkeyes within seven with 7 minutes left, hitting Keenan Davis to convert on a fourth-and-10 to set up a 9-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Canzeri on a screen.

That was it, though.

Oklahoma's Mike Hunnicutt followed a 35-yard field goal with just over 4 minutes left and Bell added his final scoring run after the falling camera nearly took out McNutt.

Iowa (7-5) vs. Oklahoma (9-3) Dec. 30, 10 pm, ESPN

Here’s The Deal … Last year, Nebraska appeared to be a mortal lock to beat Washington in the Holiday Bowl. The Huskers had already destroyed the Huskies earlier in the year and were coming off a tough loss in the Big 12 title game. Meanwhile, Washington was okay, but didn’t appear to have the talent or the ability on either side of the ball to come up with a win.

Washington 19, Nebraska 7.

Sometimes even the most obvious of bowl matchups go the completely opposite way. Sometimes the superior team doesn’t show up. Sometimes the inferior team is ultra-focused and uses the extra time to prepare to come up with something special. And sometimes, the better team obliterates the underdog.

If Oklahoma plays up to its capabilities, this has the potential to be the ugliest of all the decent bowl games.

It seems like ten years ago, but there was a time when the Sooners were preseason No. 1, and even as late as mid-November, the chance was still there to play for the national title despite a stunning loss to Texas Tech. Had OU gotten out of Baylor alive, a win over Oklahoma State on the road probably would’ve been enough to push ahead of Alabama to play LSU for the whole ball of wax. Instead, Robert Griffin chose to win the Heisman as he led Baylor on a fantastic game-winning drive, and Oklahoma State turned out to be the team pushing for the national title by delivering a 44-10 pasting. So instead of the Fiesta Bowl, which OU would’ve been in had it beaten the Cowboys, it’s in Arizona for a mid-level bowl.

Even with the loss of all-time great receiver Ryan Broyles, and top running back Dominique Whaley, there were still enough flashes of dominance and brilliance to show why there was so preseason hype. The machine finished fourth in the nation in total offense and passing offense, and tenth in scoring offense, blowing up Kansas State 58-17, rocking Texas 55-17, and dispatching of Texas A&M 41-25. Of the nine wins, none were by fewer than ten points; when OU was on, it was on. But when the defense didn’t show up, like it failed to in the three losses, the offense couldn’t bail the team out.

It’s a high bar to set, but Iowa might need to score at least 41 to win, considering the Sooners went 0-3 this year when allowing 41 or more and was 9-0 when allowing fewer. How flaky was OU? In those nine wins, the defense allowed more than 17 points just twice and never gave up more than 28. Against Texas Tech, Baylor, and Oklahoma State, though, it was a different story.

Iowa needs to summon its early season firepower to get the O moving.

The Hawkeyes weren’t very good, sputtering in losses to Michigan State and Nebraska and suffering an inexcusable brain cramp – for the second year in a row – against Minnesota. Against the mediocre, Iowa’s offense didn’t have a problem putting up big points hanging 41 in a loss to Iowa State, 41 on Northwestern, and 45 on Indiana, but over the second half of the year the line was merely average and the production wasn’t always there. Making matters worse against Oklahoma, considering Iowa would have problems if fully loaded, is the loss of star running back Marcus Coker, who was suspended for the game for a violation of team rules.

Last year, Iowa was getting ripped apart by Blaine Gabbert and Missouri in the Insight before coming back in the final moments with a pick six for a stunning 27-24 win. But the Hawkeyes got a monster game out of Coker. Under head coach Kirk Ferentz, the Hawkeyes have been strong in the post-season winning three straight including the 2009 Outback Bowl against South Carolina and the 2010 Orange against Georgia Tech. Iowa has gone 3-1 against SEC teams since 2004 and has won five of its last seven bowl games.

Oklahoma used to be automatic in bowl games under Bob Stoops, winning three straight, but losses in five of six bowls – all BCS games including three national championships – ended the mystique. After winning bowls in the last two years, things have been back on track.

The Insight has been a surprisingly great bowl over the last several seasons with four of the last six and six of the last nine decided by five points or fewer. Could this one keep up the trend?

Stranger things have happened.

Why Iowa Might Win: So how did Oklahoma State, Baylor, and Texas Tech move the ball on the Oklahoma defense with such ease? The Cowboy offensive line beat up the OU defensive front and pounded away for 278 rushing yards and four scores, while the Bears won because RGIII bombed away. Texas Tech’s Seth Doege threw for 452 yards and four touchdowns, but while the Sooner secondary struggled, the upset happened because Doege was throwing darts.

Basically, Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg and the passing attack have to be phenomenal.

The Hawkeyes have a decent passing game and they can push the ball deep from time to time, but the only game this year when the air show truly kicked in was the comeback win – the greatest in team history – to beat Pitt. Iowa has to take that attitude from the start; it has to start bombing. The receivers are good enough and experienced enough to give the Sooner corners problems, and Vandenberg is just careful enough with the ball to avoid making the big mistake while still pushing the ball around the yard.

Iowa has to get physical from the start in both pass protection and for the running game. OU hasn’t faced many teams with tough, pounding offensive lines, and while getting going on the ground will be tested out from the start, it’ll be a must for the line to be strong in pass protection. This hasn’t been the best Iowa offensive line, but it’s had a few great moments. Against OU, it has to dominate.

Why Oklahoma Might Win: Iowa can play its best game of the year, and it won’t matter if Oklahoma is playing at its best.

The Iowa offensive line might have talent, but it’s been mediocre throughout the season in pass protection and now it has to face a pass rush that’s among the best in the nation. The Sooners bring the pressure from all sides and have too much speed and athleticism in the linebacking corps for Iowa to try doing much running wide. On the other side of the ball, Iowa doesn’t have any semblance of a pass rush and doesn’t do much to make things happen behind the line. The Sooner offensive front has been phenomenal at keeping Landry Jones upright and clean, and if he gets time, he’ll pick part the Hawkeye secondary.

Iowa hasn’t faced too many top-shelf quarterbacks, and when it did, it was ugly. Dan Persa and the Northwestern quarterbacks threw for 342 yards and three touchdowns, and Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins threw for 260 yards and three scores. The Iowa secondary has been mediocre – ranking last in the Big Ten in pass defense – and it has a problem giving up big plays. Expect a 300-yard day out of Jones without much of a problem.

Not having Coker could be a killer for the Hawkeyes. Oklahoma’s defense is among the best in the nation on third downs, and not having a consistent rushing threat should force several third-and-long situations. Unless Vandenberg is red hot and hitting on his deep passes, there won’t be many long, sustained drives.

What To Watch Out For: Without Coker running the ball, it’s senior Jason White’s time to shine in his final game. Iowa offensive coordinator Ken O’Keefe will try to spread things around a bit with fullback Brad Rogers getting a little bit of work, but it might be White, a walk-on who’s next up on the depth chart, to handle the bulk of the work. One problem, though; he has just three carries for 12 yards on the season. In other words, this will be Vandenberg or bust.

The junior has thrown for 23 touchdowns with six picks on the year, and he has played in just enough big games in big moments over his career to be ready. In the comeback against Pitt he threw 48 times, and in the loss to Michigan State he threw it 47 times. 50 passes isn’t out of the question, and he needs to make them effective for the Hawkeyes to have a shot.

Is this the final college game for Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones? Bob Stoops “gut feeling” says that Jones is staying, but with Matt Barkley coming back to USC for his final season, Jones would almost certainly be a top ten overall pick, if not top three, if he chose to leave. At 6-4 and 230 pounds with a live, accurate arm, he looks the part as a pre pro passer. Interceptions have been a problem this year with 14 including two in three of the last five games. With 4,302 yards, he knows how to spread the ball around and he has no problem putting the offense on his shoulders with ten games with 40+ passes and four 50-pass games.

The pro scouts will also be looking hard at the matchup of Iowa left tackle Riley Reiff and Oklahoma defensive end Frank Alexander, who led the team with 8.5 sacks to go along with 51 tackles, six broken up passes and three forced fumbles. The 6-4, 255-pound senior might be a late round pick, he could find a niche at the next level as a pass rushing specialist. On the flip side, the 6-6, 300-pound Reiff could be a top 15 selection if he chooses to come out early. USC’s Matt Kalil is the top tackle on the board, but Reiff might be No. 2 with good quickness and a great frame for a zone blocking scheme. He might not be huge, but he’s a strong, steady blocker with the ability to protect an NFL quarterback’s blind side for the next decade.

What Will Happen: It’s always easy to focus on Oklahoma’s failures because they’re always a really, really big deal. However, the team was this close to beating Texas Tech and Baylor and might be better than the 9-3 record. Coming off the blowout loss to Oklahoma State, the Sooners will be fired up and well motivated, and Iowa won’t have any answers. The Sooners will be better in all phases.

CFN Prediction: Oklahoma 44 … Iowa 20
- Click For Latest Line From ATS: Oklahoma -14   O/U: 58
Confidence Picks
Fiu Rich Matt Russ Barrett Terry Phil Clucko PICK
OU (34) OU* (27) OU (31) OU* (13) OU* (24) OU*(25)  OU* (29) IA (34) OU* (19)

E-mail Pete Fiutak
#CFBnews & #ColFootballNews
Iowa always stands on its head in bowl games under Kirk Ferentz, but this isn't the normal Iowa team and this is a national title-level Oklahoma squad looking to make amends for the Oklahoma State disaster. The over/under is starting to move up, but it doesn't matter. Oklahoma could hit the 55-point mark on its own.

By Richard Cirminiello 
Sooners will try to convince themselves that this trip to Arizona is actually for the Fiesta Bowl. It won’t work.

By Matt Zemek
Oklahoma will have three and a half weeks to physically heal. Any questions?

By: Barrett Sallee
Follow me on Twitter: @BarrettSallee  
Oklahoma is a shell of its former self. Something tells me the Sooners just want this season over with.

By Russ Mitchell
Oklahoma began the season with visions of sugar plums and BCS title games dancing in their heads. Now they'll play anyone to get the sour taste of Stillwater out of their mouth. Enter the 7-5 Iowa Hawkeyes, who lost three of their last five and every road game except Purdon't. If this doesn't help Oklahoma's hangover, nothing will.

By Terry Johnson
Can the Hawkeyes pass defense, which ranks dead last in the Big Ten, withstand a Sooners’ aerial attack that throws for 365 yards per game?

By Phil Harrison
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFN
Very intriguing matchup. Both teams have been inconsistent, but if both bring their best to the desert, it should be a fun contrast of styles.
 
Best Bowl Moments

Best Hawkeye Bowl Moment: For the 11 members of the Big Ten conference, success is measured in terms Rose Bowl berths and victories. For the Hawkeyes, that level of success hasn’t reached their campus since the latter half of the 1950s. Iowa beat Oregon State and Cal in 1957 and 1959 for its only Rose Bowl victories. The 38-12 win over the Golden Bears in ’59 was particularly impressive – the Hawkeyes’ offense rolled up 441 of its 528 total yards on the ground.

Best Sooner Bowl Moment: Although most of the last several BCS bowl appearances have been eminently forgettable for this proud football school, Oklahoma’s 26-17-1 bowl record ranks among the best of any program with at least 15 appearances. The Sooners, regulars in Miami throughout the years, used the 2001 Orange Bowl as a vehicle to regain their status as a perennial national title contender. The Oklahoma defense suffocated high-powered Florida State in a shocking 13-2 win that captured the school’s seventh national championship.

Insight Bowl History
2010 Iowa 27, Missouri 24
2009 Iowa State 14, Minnesota 13
2008 Kansas 42, Minnesota 21
2007 Oklahoma State 49, Indiana 33
2006 Texas Tech 44, Minn. 41 OT
2005 Arizona State 45, Rutgers 40
2004 Oregon St 38, Notre Dame 21
2003 California 52, Virginia Tech 49
2002 Pittsburgh 38, Oregon State 13
2001 Syracuse 26, Kansas State 3
2000 Iowa State 37, Pitt 29
1999 Colorado 62, Boston College 28
1998 Missouri 34, West Virginia 31
1997 Arizona 20, New Mexico 14
1996 Wisconsin 38, Utah 10
1995 Texas Tech 55, Air Force 41
1994 Brigham Young 31, Oklahoma 6
1993 Kansas State 52, Wyoming 17
1991 Indiana 24, Baylor 0
1990 California 17, Wyoming 15
1989 Arizona 17, NC State 10

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