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2007 Insight Bowl - Indiana vs. Oklahoma St
Indiana QB Kellen Lewis
Indiana QB Kellen Lewis
Posted Dec 26, 2007

2007 Insight Bowl Preview - Indiana vs. Oklahoma State

Indiana (7-5) vs. Oklahoma State (6-6)

Dec. 31st, 6:00 p.m. ET, NFL Network

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2007 Insight Bowl History, Each Team's Best Bowl Moments, & More

National Rankings
Oklahoma St Indiana
Total Offense
9th  484.08 ypg 63rd  393.33 ypg
Total Defense
103rd  446.67 ypg 68th  394.25 ypg
Scoring Offense
28th  33.42 ppg 38th  31.58 ppg
Scoring Defense
76th  29.25 ppg 58th  26.75 ppg
Run Offense
7th  245.83 ypg 54th  155.58 ypg
Run Defense
60th  153.83 ypg 61st  155.42 ypg
Pass Offense
48th  238.25 ypg 49th  237.75 ypg
Pass Defense
116th  292.83 ypg 76th  238.83 ypg
Turnover Margin
63rd  -0.08 58th  0.00
Oklahoma State
at Georgia L 35-14
Fla Atlantic W 42-6
at Troy L 41-23
Texas Tech W 49-45
S Houston St
W 39-3
at Tex A&M L 24-23
at Nebr. W 45-14
Kansas St W 41-39
L 38-35
L 43-28
at Baylor
W 52-17
at Oklahoma L 49-17
Indiana State W 55-7
at WMU W 37-27
Akron W 41-24
Illinois L 27-14
at Iowa W 38-20
Minnesota W 40-20
at Mich St L 52-27
Penn State L 36-31
at Wisconsin
 L 33-3
Ball State W 38-20
at Nwestern L 31-28
Purdue W 27-24
Position Ratings
relative to each other
OSU 5 highest
1 lowest
4.5 Quarterbacks 4.5
4 RBs 2.5
3 Receivers 4
4 O Line 3
3 D Line 3.5
3.5 Linebackers 3
2.5 Secondary 3
3 Spec Teams 4
3.5 Coaching 3.5

The Insight Bowl might have come up with some strange matchups over the years, and tends to be a dumping ground for teams looking for a place to go, but it's managed to produce some fantastic bowl games.

Now if just someone could see it.

Last year's 44-41 Texas Tech overtime stunner over Minnesota might have been the most entertaining game of the bowl season, but on the NFL Network, and lost in the crush of a huge day of bowls, no one saw it. This year, it's part of a smorgasbord day of six games and it might get overlooked with the Sun (USF and Oregon) just ending, the Music City (Kentucky and Florida State) at halftime, and the Chick-fil-A (Clemson and Auburn) kicking in, not to mention the various New Year's Night plans that everyone will be getting ready for.

Indiana probably isn't going to give two hoots about where the game falls in the day's pecking order. This is the program's first post-season date since the 1993 Independence Bowl coming off its first winning season in 12 years. Late head coach Terry Hoeppner had a goal of a 13th game, and the players and coaches have achieved the dream with a thrilling, but uneven year.

Oklahoma State was best known this year for some coaching news of its own with the all-timer of a rant from Mike Gundy after a newspaper article about now-backup quarterback Bobby Reid. Still looking to make a Big 12 splash in the Gundy era, the Cowboys won last year's Independence Bowl over Alabama but wasn't consistent in a disappointing year.

Even with one of the most explosive offenses in America, finishing ninth with 484 yards per game and seventh in rushing averaging 246 per outing, the Cowboys were only able to pull off one remotely decent win, a 49-45 shootout over Texas Tech. There were blowout losses to Georgia and Oklahoma, a stunning 41-23 loss at Troy, and yet another late collapse to Texas. Beating Indiana wouldn't exactly make OSU's season, but in its fifth bowl games in six years, it would show the program is at least above-average.

The Hoosiers have the offensive talent to keep up the pace and make this a blast of an offensive shootout after scoring 27 points or more in ten of their 12 games. Needing a win in their final two games to secure a bowl game, a 31-28 loss to Northwestern appeared to end the dream, but an
Austin Starr 49-yard field goal in the final minute beat Purdue to get them here.

It this the culmination of the rebuilding process or just the beginning for IU? A relatively young team with most of the key parts coming back (especially if WR James Hardy chooses to return for his senior season), and with head coach Bill Lynch now the full-time head man after filling in for Hoeppner this season, this could be a launching pad.

For the most part, the two teams are roughly the same as they rely on playmaking dual-threat quarterbacks and hope for their defenses to not be awful, and they can each score from anywhere on the field. So yes, even with all the choices for bowl games, and with other plans you're going to have, this will be one of the bowl games worthy of paying attention to.

Players to watch: Oklahoma State was supposed to be Bobby Reid's team, but early on, sophomore Zac Robinson proved he was the better quarterback option with dangerous running skills and an accurate arm. Despite being just a sophomore, he makes good decisions and has been great at ball security with 20 touchdowns and eight interceptions throwing just two picks in the last seven games. It's possible he's just scratching the surface, originally considered a big receiver prospect and still improving as a passer. He ran for 100 yards three times this year, and OSU scored 49 (vs. Texas Tech), 41 (vs. Kansas State) and 45 (vs. Baylor), winning all three games.

Looking to pressure Robinson, or at least keep him contained, will be IU sophomore DE Greg Middleton, who led the nation with 16 sacks to go along with 50 tackles. While still a bit one dimensional, he's not all that bad against the run when he's able to use his tremendous quickness in pursuit. Forget about everything else; his worth is as a pass rusher extraordinaire, cranking out two in three of the final four games. It's possible this could be his national coming out party leading to several 2008 preseason All-America lists.

Offensively, IU is all about the combination of QB Kellen Lewis and WR James Hardy, who hooked up 74 times for 1,075 yards and 16 touchdowns on the year. At 6-7 and 220 pounds, Hardy is a matchup nightmare with a great burst on deep balls and a knack for making plays around the goal line with at least one touchdown grab in every game but one, and with 36 scores in 32 career games. Lewis has major problems with turnovers, but when he's on, he's one of the Big Ten's most explosive players with 653 rushing yards and eight touchdown runs along with 2,839 passing yards and 26 scores. While he's not all that big, he's tough as nails.

OSU's offense will revolve around Robinson, but it'll try to get senior Dantrell Savage going early. One of the Big 12's leading rushers with 1,172 yards and eight touchdowns, he ran for 100 yards of more in each of the last nine games with stunning consistency no matter who he went against. While not a power runner, he has warp speed with the ability to crank out big yards in chunks averaging 5.86 yards per carry.

Oklahoma State will win if... Kellen Lewis has an awful game. For the most part, the IU sophomore makes up for bad passing games by running well, and vice versa, but if the OSU linebackers can turn him into a pocket passer and keep him from getting to the outside on his runs, they should be able to bottle him up. The key will be generating pressure, which is much easier said then done for an OSU pass rush that doesn't show up for quarters at a time, but this isn't a strong IU offensive line and it can be run by. If the Cowboys can win the turnover battle by forcing Lewis to put it on the ground a few times, and if Robinson is the best quarterback on the field, they'll win.

Indiana will win if... it runs for 200 yards or more. It's not like IU doesn't have running back talent; it just doesn't use it enough. Junior Marcus Thigpen has been a top kick returner and has been a strong receiver, but he wasn't utilized much as a runner until tearing off 140 yards on 19 carries against Purdue. IU is 4-0 when Thigpen gets 15 carries or more, and the team was 5-0 this season when it ran for 200 yards or more. Granted, the only time the production came against a team with a pulse was in the season finale over the Boilermakers, but Oklahoma State can be run on. The statistics look better than they really are because every offense fattened up on the abysmal Cowboy secondary. If IU commits to the run early, and doesn't try to hit a home run with every pass, it should be able to move the ball at will.

What will happen: Oklahoma State has the better team with more weapons, more speed and more athleticism. It also has a defense that couldn't stop you and a few friends from throwing for 300 yards. This will be like a basketball game with various momentum swings and scoring runs. Indiana will play an inspired game with its defense playing a wee bit better than OSU's, but it won't matter. The Cowboys will have too much firepower.

Line: Oklahoma State -4.5 ... CFN Prediction: Oklahoma State 38 ... Indiana 30

2007 Insight Bowl History, Each Team's Best Bowl Moments, & More