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The 2011 Insight Bowl in Tempe ended up being a bit of a lopsided affair, as was expected, although far from a blowout. The No. 14 Oklahoma Sooners, who were favored by 14 points, actually ended up winning by 17, walking away with the trophy after defeating the Iowa Hawkeyes 31-14.
The Oklahoma offense was led by Blake Bell, who made the most out of his 51 total yards in the game. Bell scored touchdowns on four-yard runs in both the first and second quarters and put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter with a third touchdown, this one on a 21-yard run. Bell only had 10 carries in the entire game. Without the 21-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, he would have finished with just 30 yards, but would have still had the two touchdowns. Quite an impressive feat of efficiency.
For more on the Insight bowl, visit Iowa blog Black Heart Gold Pants and Oklahoma blog Crimson and Cream Machine. For the latest on the postseason, visit SB Nation's college football bowls section. You can locate the official Insight Bowl website by clicking right here.
The No. 14 Oklahoma Sooners had decisive control over the first three quarters of the 2011 Insight Bowl in Tempe, AZ, before the Iowa Hawkeyes came to life in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately for Iowa, their comeback was a case of too little, too late.The Sooners would eventually walk away with the 31-14 victory.
The Sooners owned the opening half of play, with running back Blake Bell rushing for touchdowns in the first and second quarters. The Hawkeyes also had a costly interception and a turnover on downs on the Oklahoma 6-yard line in the first half.
The Sooners added a touchdown pass in the third quarter, extending their lead to 21-0 before Iowa got on the board. Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg tossed two touchdown passes, one to C.J. Fiedorowicz and one to Jordan Canzeri, to cut the Oklahoma lead to 21-14 with just under 7:00 left to play. Unfortunately for the Hawkeyes, the Sooners were able to hold them off before kicking a field goal with less than three minutes left to take their lead back up to ten points.
Vandenberg got creamed on a rushing play just before the two minute warning in the fourth quarter and looked to be injured on the play. A Sooners linebacker drilled Vandenberg in the helmet with his knee during a tackle. On the following drive, Oklahoma put the game away with 0:45 seconds remaining as Bell rushed for a 21-yard touchdown, his third rushing touchdown of the game.
The first three quarters of the 2011 Insight Bowl in Tempe, AZ have been a decidedly one-sided affair. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Iowa Hawkeyes have finally gotten on the board but still trail the No. 14 Oklahoma Sooners by a score of 21-7.
The Sooners extended their lead to 21-0 in the third quarter when Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones completed the first touchdown pass of the game to Trent Ratterree from three yards out. The touchdown ended a 64-yard, 10-play drive by the Sooners.
The Hawkeyes finally managed to find the end zone in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter, finishing a 75-yard, 16-play drive with a five-yard James Vandenberg pass to C.J. Fiedorowicz. Iowa remains in the game by scoring, but have seemed grossly overmatched so far.
The No. 14 Oklahoma Sooners are living up to their billing as favorites in the 2011 Insight Bowl against the Iowa Hawkeyes. Through the first half, the Sooners are leading 14-0 in a fairly one-sided affair.
The Sooners scored their second touchdown midway through the second quarter, on a four-yard rush from Blake Bell. Bell has scored both of the touchdowns in the game, both coming on four-yard runs. Through the first half, Bell has 13 yards on four carries.
Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg is not having the most accurate game, going 9-for-20 so far with 89 passing yards and a costly interception that led to Bell's first touchdown in the first quarter. His Sooners counterpart, Landry Jones, only has 70 passing yards, but is 7-for-11 on attempts.
The Sooners opened up the scoring within the first five minutes of the game when Blake Bell managed a four-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. That touchdown came just two plays after Jamell Fleming intercepted an Iowa pass and returned it to the Iowa 10 yard line.
Iowa then reeled off a 14-play, 65-yard drive that took them deep into the red zone and to the Oklahoma 6 yard line. They opted to go for the conversion on 4th-and-1, rather than settle for the field goal. That play resulted in a loss of three yards and a turnover on downs.
The Haweyes were able to hold the Sooners at their own 6, however, as the Oklahoma squad went three-and-out. Luckily for Oklahoma, Tress Way manages a 67-yard punt out of the end zone to keep the Hawkeyes at bay.
The 2011 Insight Bowl will kick off at 7:30 p.m. MT / 9:30 p.m. ET on Friday, December 30 at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe. The game features the Oklahoma Sooners (9-3, 6-3) from the Big 12 facing the Iowa Hawkeyes (7-5, 4-4) from the Big Ten conference.
TV Broadcast: ESPN will carry the game with Sean McDonough, Matt Millen, and Heather Cox working the game. ESPN Radio will feature Bill Rosinski, David Norrie, and Joe Schad.
Current Odds: Vegas has the Oklahoma Sooners as a 14-point favorite over Iowa with the over/under set at 57.5 total points. The Sooners averaged 40.3 points per game compared to just 28.7 for Iowa and the Oklahoma defense was also about one point per game better as well.
Quarterbacks: Oklahoma is led by Landry Jones who powered the Sooners to a Fiesta Bowl win over UConn in Arizona last year. Jones has thrown for 4,302 yards this season. The Hawkeyes are led by junior James Vandenberg who threw for 2,806 yards.
The Oklahoma Sooners have had a disappointing regular season and probably aren't too thrilled to be playing in Sun Devil Stadium in the Insight Bowl against the Iowa Hawkeyes. Oklahoma had national championship aspirations and saw them fall apart with defeats against the Texas Tech Red Raiders (who didn't even make a bowl game), the Baylor Bears (running straight into the Robert Griffin III express train) and the Oklahoma St. Cowboys (who finally smacked their in-state rivals up in Bedlam).
That regular season could turn into a disappointing offseason as well if Landry Jones decides to forego his senior season and declare for the NFL Draft. Bob Stoops has this to say about his quarterback.
Oklahoma might have to wait yet another year to contend for a BCS title as they adjust to life with a new quarterback. Stoops knows this as well as anyone. If Jones returns, Oklahoma will probably right back in the mix, but a departure could set the program a year back. Jones's decision could end up shaping who ends up winning the Big 12 in 2012.
To discuss Jones and the Sooners, head on over to Crimson and Cream Machine.
Arizona college football fans may not feel much like cheering following the disappointing season from the Arizona St. Sun Devils that ended with a blowout BCS loss against the Boise St. Broncos on Thursday, but Adam Kress of the Phoenix Business Journal points out that the Phoenix area is going to play host to two of the best games of the BCS bowl season.
All eyes will likely be on the Fiesta Bowl on January between No. 3 the Oklahoma St. Cowboys and the No. 4 Stanford Cardinal, but there is plenty of star power present in the Insight Bowl just a few days earlier.
The Sooners are out to make a statement in what could be their fourth straight bowl game win, as Travis Haney of the Oklahoman points out. The Sooners are 16-point favorites against the Hawkeyes and are looking to claim a sense of redemption at the end of a disappointing 9-3 season when many experts had them as favorites to win the National Championship. They could be playing with renewed vigor as a means of saying, "Watch out for us next year." The players are well aware of the disappointment and are eager to grab that 10th win in 2011.
"Right now, you could call us a bunch of jokes or whatever," sophomore linebacker Tom Wort said. "Until we fix it, that's what we're going to be. We've got something to prove."
The Insight Bowl may just end up being a sleeper of a terrific game. Arizona fans have an opportunity to bear witness to this one first-hand.
The Iowa Hawkeyes landed in the Grand Canyon State Thursday evening for their matchup with No. 14 Oklahoma in the 2011 Insight Bowl, with kead coach Kirk Ferentz taking some time to speak with the media about their week in Arizona as well as their preparations before the game.
Ferentz noted how honored they are to take part in this bowl, especially against a team like Oklahoma:
"We are just thrilled to be here, even more so now because our players and especially our returning players know how big of a deal it is to be here. Much like last year, we are facing a tremendous opponent. Now, we face another team with an outstanding quarterback in Oklahoma and Landry Jones. They have been getting after the quarterback very, very successfully. We're awfully excited about that match-up, its going to be a great challenge."
He also would mention some of the other ties going on outside of the game as well:
"Obviously there is a little bit of personal tie between us with Bob Stoops and two other coaches on the staff, Josh Heupel and Bruce Kittle being former Iowa Hawkeyes. Those are people we all know, very, very well. They're good friends and I have tremendous respect for them and Bob's record in 13 years at Oklahoma speaks for itself."
As for the game, Ferentz has been here before, and nows how to keep his guys sharp and engaged with a full week before the game:
"I think we pretty much locked in for the last seven or eight attempts since the first Orange Bowl. We've decided on what we like to do. We just adjust it given our final schedule and bowl date is. I think we've got a good start to our preparation. This is a new phase. We're in a pretty festive environment right now. It's going to be a real challenge for our players to keep their focus on the game, but we certainly want to relax and enjoy the activities as well."
Both Iowa and Oklahoma currently lack depth with their running backs, which Ferentz thinks will be more of an issue for the Sooners:
"It's kind of a battle of lack of depth between the two of us. They are in the same situation right now. They're down to two tailbacks. They have a full back/H-back who's a very good player and who can also run the ball. We may have a few more numbers than they do. Our psychological advantage is they're going to have a hard time finding our guys. The guys they're playing against, they're going to have a hard time finding them on the film...If we have to do it by committee, we'll do it by committee. Whatever it takes."
Last year at the 2010 Insight Bowl, Iowa Hawkeyes running back Adam Robinson was suspended. In stepped Marcus Coker, who had one of the best possible games a Hawkeye running back has ever had, setting records for rushing yards and attempts.
Apparently, Coker has decided he's milked Arizona for all it's worth. The Hawkeyes running back will not be returning with his team to the Insight Bowl this season, following in the footsteps of Robinson this time around.
The university announced the suspension Tuesday without providing further details.
Coker, a sophomore from Beltsville, Md., will not travel with the team to Tempe, Ariz., for the game between the Hawkeyes (7-5) and the 19th-ranked Sooners (9-3).
"It is unfortunate that Marcus Coker will not be with the team for our bowl game. During the next 10 days, we will focus and continue to prepare the players that are able to participate," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said in a statement.
Coker's absence takes a load off of the Oklahoma defense, which struggled mightily near the end of 2011. Iowa needs a heavy running attack to keep the ball away from Landry Jones and the explosive Oklahoma offense. The Hawkeyes will now have to rely on a more balanced attack with both the passing game and the rushing game equally involved.
The 2011 Insight Bowl will be held in Tempe, AZ on December 30 and features two teams that were both in Arizona for bowl games last year. The Iowa Hawkeyes return to the scene of their thrilling upset win over Missouri in last year's game. The Oklahoma Sooners, however, might see this as a downgrade after appearing in the Fiesta Bowl in 2011 where they defeated UConn. This is their second appearance at the Insight Bowl.
Odds have not been posted yet for this game but we would imagine Oklahoma (9-3, 6-3) will be heavily favored over Iowa (7-5, 4-4). Both teams are close in points allowed with Iowa giving up 23.3 per game and Oklahoma 22.8. The offensive stats, however, heavily favor the Sooners who are lead by QB Landry Jones. They put up 40.3 points per game versus only 28.7 for Iowa.
The Hawkeyes are no slouch, however, and as we saw last year with their win over the ranked Missouri Tigers, they get up for the big game. Their signature win this season came over Michigan (15) in early November. They feature running back Marcus Coker and wide receiver Marvin McNutt, Jr.
Both schools traveled well last year which certainly factored into the selection decision. It will be interesting, however, to see if the Sooners fans come in big numbers like they did last year given the "down grade" from Fiesta to Insight Bowl.
The Oklahoma Sooners seemed to be in great shape to return to the national championship. They had a Heisman-caliber quarterback in Landry Jones and a great talent in Ryan Broyles. But Oklahoma was upset at home by Texas Tech in one of the most puzzling losses of the season. Then when they were set to return to the title picture, they were upset by Baylor and totally eviscerated in Bedlam against Oklahoma State.
Oklahoma finished the season at 9-3, and instead of a return trip to New Orleans or even Glendale, will end up facing the thoroughly mediocre Iowa Hawkeyes in Tempe in the 2011 Insight Bowl as the fourth pick for the Big 12 behind teams like Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Baylor. Iowa finished with an unremarkable 7-5 record and were right in that territory as a fourth/fifth selection for the Big 10. It should probably be a well-attended matchup between two of the best fanbases in college football.
The 2011 Insight Bowl is coming and we have all the coverage leading up to the game on December 30 in Tempe.