2008 Insight - Profiles, History & More
Minnesota DE Willie VanDeSteeg
Minnesota DE Willie VanDeSteeg
Posted Dec 29, 2008

Player profiles, team history, the breakout players, the best bowl moments and more for the 2008 Insight Bowl.

2008 Insight Bowl

Minnesota (7-5) vs. Kansas (7-5)

Dec. 31, 8:00 p.m. ET, NFL Network

Get Tickets for the Insight Bowl

- 2008 CFN Insight Bowl Preview

Scroll Down For Each Team's Bowl History

Insight Bowl History
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

By Richard Cirminiello

Best Jayhawk Bowl Moment: Kansas capped one of the best seasons in school history with one of the best victories in school history, a 24-21 win over favored Virginia Tech in the 2008 Orange Bowl. Obviously motivated by pre-game whispers about a soft D and a soft regular season schedule, the Jayhawks delivered their best defensive effort of the year to finish ranked No. 7 in the final AP Poll.
Best Gopher Bowl Moment: It’s been quite some time since Minnesota reigned supreme in the Big Ten or played a game in Pasadena. Almost half a century, in fact. Behind the play of legendary quarterback Sandy Stephens and a terrific defensive effort, the Gophers beat UCLA 21-3 in the 1962 Rose Bowl to avenge a loss to Washington in Pasadena a year earlier.

The Last Time You'll See ...

LB James Holt. Teammates Mike Rivera and Joe Mortensen may have entered the season with thicker resumes, but Holt outplayed both in a fantastic final campaign. He leads the Jayhawks with 97 tackles and has been a terror on the blitz, collecting a team-high 15.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks. All three linebackers are seniors, making the position an area of need heading into next season.
Minnesota: DE Willie VanDeSteeg. VanDeSteeg has led the Gophers in sacks in two of the last three years, providing a push up front to a program that traditionally struggles getting to the quarterback. More of a grinder than a next-level type of athlete, he’s been able to turn 9.5 sacks into a spot on this year’s All-Big Ten team.
Breakout Player ...

: DT Jamal Greene. It took some time to get to this point, but Greene has begun to show why he was one of the top recruits out of the state two years ago. At 6-4 and 300 pounds, he’s extremely powerful, yet moves surprisingly well laterally. He’s had a tackle for loss in four of the last six games, a preview of what’s to come from the sophomore in 2009.
: LB Simoni Lawrence. In just his first season out of Valley Forge (Penn.) Military Academy, Lawrence has had an instant impact on the Gopher defense. A linebacker who moves like a safety, he’s had no problems adjusting to the speed of the Big Ten, ranking fourth on the team with 64 tackles, while proving to be a useful option on the blitz.

Best Non-Game Event
The Insight Fiesta Bowl Block Party is a New Year's Eve celebration in downtown Tempe that annually attracts 150,000 people and more than 40 bands on several stages. The fans from the four teams competing in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and Insight Bowl are able to enjoy the event, and the Insight Bowl has been held in the afternoon on December 31 just down the street in Sun Devil Stadium. The event has a national headliner each year, including the Goo Goo Dolls, Billy Idol, Barenaked Ladies, LeAnn Rimes, Hootie & The Blowfish and Live, to name a few. Legendary band Styx will perform at this year's event. The Block Party has been named one of the top ten places in the nation to ring in the New Year by USA Today, and "The Place to Party" by The Sporting News.

Player Gift Package
Players from each school will receive a Vizio 26" LCD HD Television, a Bulova Insight Bowl watch, a snack pack, and a game hat.

Charitable Component
As a non-profit organization, the Fiesta Bowl, which also runs the Insight Bowl, believes in the importance of community outreach and service.  Through our involvement and contributions to charitable groups, it has upheld its commitment of annually supporting organizations devoted to enhancing the community. The Fiesta Bowl contributes to more than 45 charities each year.

How Success is Measured
Every year is a success in a different way. The committee has been fortunate to have a sell-out in 23 of the past 24 Tostitos Fiesta Bowls and host six national championship games. The Insight Bowl continues to grow and it's an honor to be partnered with the Big 12 and Big Ten conferences in that game. The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, Insight Bowl and year-round events provide an economic boost to the local economy and all of its events give people of all ages and backgrounds an opportunity to participate. Some years they’ve got double-overtime thrillers and some years there are blowouts. However, their annual goal is to provide the best hospitality and experience possible for all of its customers, which includes the teams, fans, media, administrators and participants in all events.

MVP of the Bowl
It would be impossible to single one person out. The Fiesta Bowl and Insight Bowl have more than 3,000 volunteers, led this year chairman Dave Tilson, who give a great deal of time and effort in their respective areas. Some are involved with the bowl games, some with the parade, and some with the band championship. All are part of the Fiesta Bowl family and an integral part of the organizations.

Impact to the Community
The 2007 year that included the Insight Bowl, Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, and Tostitos BCS National Championship Game generated an economic impact of $401.7 million to the state's economy, according to the ASU W.P. Carey School of Business. In non-championship years, the games generate approximately $200 million to the state’s economy and have generated more than $2 billion to the state's economy over the last 37 years.

Role of Volunteers
As stated above, the Fiesta Bowl, which also oversees the Insight Bowl, was started by volunteers and is successful because of its volunteers.  They are the most dedicated group of individuals an organization could ever have, and they continue to raise the bar each and every year.

- 2008 CFN Insight Bowl Preview

Minnesota Bowl History (5-8)
2006 Insight Texas Tech 44, Minnesota 41 OT
2005 Music City Virginia 34, Minnesota 31
2004 Music City Minnesota 20, Alabama 16
2003 Sun Minnesota 31, Oregon 30
2002 Music City Minnesota 29, Arkansas 14
2000 Micronpc.com NC State 38, Minnesota 30
1999 Sun Oregon 24, Minnesota 20
1986 Liberty Tennessee 21, Minnesota 14
1985 Independence Minnesota 20, Clemson 13
1977 Hall Of Fame Maryland 17, Minnesota 7
1961 Rose Minnesota 21, UCLA 3
1960 Rose Washington 17, Minnesota 7
Kansas Bowl History (5-6)
2007 Orange Kansas 24, Virginia Tech 21
2005 Fort Worth Kansas 42, Houston 13
2003 Tangerine NC State 56, Kansas 26
1995 Aloha Kansas 51, UCLA 30
1992 Aloha Kansas 23, BYU 20
1981 Hall of Fame Mississippi St 10, Kansas 0
1975 Sun Pittsburgh 33, Kansas 19
1973 Liberty NC State 31, Kansas 18
1969 Orange Penn State 15, Kansas 14
1961 Bluebonnet Kansas 33, Rice 7
1948 Orange Georgia Tech 20, Kansas 14