All the build-up is over as Iowa State and Minnesota get set for Thursday afternoon’s kickoff of the Insight Bowl in Tempe, Arizona. Under first year coach Paul Rhoads the Cyclones are ready for their first bowl game since 2005 and this matchup features a pair of teams that finished the regular season 6-6.
Rhoads says Minnesota is well coached and he says he has a lot of respect for their program. Iowa State’s strength this season has been the play of the offensive line but Rhoads says that unit faces a difficult test against the Gopher’s defensive front.
Rhoads says they didn’t play as well late in the season as they did early in the season, but they have practiced well heading into this game. He says they will start with trying to run the ball and protect the quarterback.
The Cyclone offense has featured a balanced attack this season and quarterback Austen Arnaud says that will be essential against the Gophers. Arnaud says they are a big and physical team and they will have to keep from turning the ball over and making mistakes.
I.S.U. linebacker Jesse Smith says the Minnesota offense will use multiple formations and the defense must be ready. He says they have some good players that can hurt you if you don’t do your job.
The Cyclones will be in search of their second Insight Bowl victory. They beat Pittsburgh back in 2000 for the school’s first bowl win. This is Minnesota’s third Insight Bowl appearance in four years and the Gophers are looking for their first win. They lost to Texas Tech in 2006 and fell to Kansas a year ago. The offense has struggled late in the season so it will be up to the defense to lead the way.
Minnesota coach Tim Brewster says the defense must tackle well against the Cyclone offense. He says Iowa State does a lot of things offensively and force you to play well in space and make tackles in space.
Kickoff in Sun Devil Stadium is 5 o’ clock.