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December 24, 2010

Insight Matchups: Running Backs

Missouri and Iowa are set to meet for the first time in 100 years. Leading up to the December 28th Insight Bowl, we will give Tiger and Hawkeye fans an in-depth look at every position on the field.

Each day until kickoff, we will highlight a different position on the field. PowerMizzou.com publisher Gabe DeArmond and HawkeyeReport.com publisher Tom Kakert will give fans the scoop on the key players to watch as the Tigers and Hawkeyes hook up for the 2010 season finale.

Hawkeyes Running Backs
Projected starters: TB: Marcus Coker, FB: Brett Morse

Key Player: Marcus Coker

Key Stat: Adam Robinson led Iowa in rushing with 941 yards. He will miss the Insight Bowl due to suspension.

Analysis: Coming into the season, running back was one of Iowa's deepest positions with Robinson, Jewel Hampton, and Brandon Wegher all returning. Wegher left fall camp and has now left the program. Hampton tore an ACL for the second time and has also left the program. Robinson missed part of the Big Ten season due to two concussions and is suspended for the bowl game due to academic concerns. That leaves Marcus Coker, a true freshman as the main ball carrier for the Hawkeyes. Coker missed the early portion of the season due to injury, but has averaged five yards per carry while rushing for 403 yards. He is a big bruising type back that will punish opposing defenses. Brett Morse doesn't carry the football very often and is primarily a blitz pickup/blocker in Iowa's offense, although he has been pretty good in the passing game as an outlet receiver.

Tigers Running Backs
Projected starter: De'Vion Moore

Key Player: Take your pick. Kendial Lawrence, Henry Josey and Marcus Murphy will all play plenty in a tailback by committee approach.

Key Stat: 5.2. All four of Mizzou's backs averaged at least 5.2 yards per carry, with Murphy coming in at better than eight yards per pop.

Analysis: Missouri kicked starter Derrick Washington off the team ten days before the season started. No back ran for more than 485 yards this season, but the four combined to make the Tiger running game much better than it was a year ago. Moore is a reliable back, who will get the tough yards. Josey and Murphy are the home run threats, who provide more speed. Lawrence is a little bit of a blend of both attributes. Missouri has shown a willingness to give all four carries in the first half and ride the hot hand in the second.

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