Insight Bowl Pregame: Minnesota vs. Iowa State

Austin Cumblad

 Greetings from Tempe.

We’ve just made our way up to the press box at Sun Devil Stadium after a leisurely stroll around the ASU campus. Jules, Marco and I turned our fair share of heads, though I suspect it had everything to do with our choice of attire; t-shirts in 60 degree weather are apparently a serious faux pas in Arizona. No matter, we wear our Minnesotaness (yes, I’m aware that’s not a word) proudly. The view from the box is quite breathtaking. With mountains as a backdrop, we are overlooking downtown Tempe, a golf course (that’s still green) and a river (that’s not frozen). Too bad I’ll be distracted by a football game shortly.

Speaking of the game, there’s plenty to watch for this evening (assuming you have the NFL Network, where the game is being televised). Of primary interest will be Minnesota’s offense, which went missing in the final two weeks of the season. Some questions we might ask ourselves:
-What role will freshman backup quarterback MarQueis Gray play? Will we see him extensively at receiver, as is rumored?
-Can starting quarterback Adam Weber rediscover the form he had against Michigan State on Halloween?
-Will the run game establish any momentum (for basically the first time this season)?
At the very least, the Gophers need to score an offensive touchdown, which they failed to do in the final two regular season games. I think the first drive will set the tone; a big play or two are absolutely critical, and in my opinion, if they don’t find the end zone on the first drive, they may be in trouble. Momentum can go both ways.

As for the defense, I suspect the nine senior starters will come out firing and give the offense plenty of chances. No current Minnesota player has won a bowl game; I’m sure the seniors especially would like to cap their career with one.