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December 22, 2010

Insight Matchups: Defensive 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 Secondary
Projected starters: CB: Shaun Prater, Micah Hyde S: Brett Greenwood, Tyler Sash

Key Player: Tyler Sash

Key Stat: The Iowa defensive backfield has 14 interceptions and 19 pass breakups this season.

Analysis: The Hawkeye defensive backs aren't flashy in terms of their style of play. Iowa plays a base defense and quite a bit of zone type coverage. They will give up underneath passes, but the method to their madness is to not give up big plays over the top and make opponents drive the football against them. Sash is the playmaker of the bunch and when Iowa makes big plays, he is usually involved in some way. Greenwood is a field general on the back end of the defense. Prater and Hyde are solid in their coverage skills and strong tacklers, but they will give up some cushion underneath. All four starters earn either first, second, or honorable mention All Big Ten honors this season.

Tigers Secondary
Projected starters: CB: Carl Gettis, Kevin Rutland S: Kenji Jackson, Jarrell Harrison

Key Player: Jarrell Harrison

Key Stat: 16. The Tigers intercepted 16 passes this season, which doubled their total from 2009.

Analysis: If there is one major difference in the Tigers this year from 2009, it is the pass defense. Opposing quarterbacks threw at will against Missouri last year. The Tigers were much better not only in yards allowed, but also in the number of big plays they gave up and the number of plays they made themselves in the defensive backfield. The Tigers will give up some completions, but the secondary is leaps and bounds better than in recent years.

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