The 21st annual Insight Bowl matches the Big Ten's Minnesota Golden Gophers (6-6) against the Big 12's Iowa State Cyclones (6-6) in a live high definition telecast Thursday, Dec. 31, at 6 p.m. ET on NFL Network. Former Iowa quarterback Paul Burmeister and NFL Network's NFL and draft analyst Mike Mayock call the action from Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz., with former Oklahoma basketball star Stacey Dales providing reports from the sidelines.
This is only the fourth matchup between Minnesota and Iowa State since 1924. Minnesota defeated Iowa State 53-29 the last time they met in 1997.
The Golden Gophers are no stranger to the Insight Bowl, making their third appearance in Tempe in the last four years. Head coach Tim Brewster's Minnesota Golden Gophers featured wins over Michigan State, Purdue and Northwestern this season. The Golden Gophers are led by Biletnikoff award candidate WR Eric Decker. Decker finished the regular season topping the Big Ten in receptions (7.7 rpg), receiving yards (114.8 ypg) and receiving TDs (5), earning All-Big Ten honors. Decker is Minnesota's all-time leader in receptions (223), receiving yards (3,050) and 100-yard games.
Iowa State makes its second Insight Bowl appearance. Current Houston Texans QB Sage Rosenfels led the Cyclones' to a 37-29 victory over Pittsburgh in 2000. Iowa State defeated Big 12 North champion Nebraska, Colorado and Baylor in conference play. The Cyclones are anchored by former walk-on LB Jesse Smith, who earned 2009 first-team All-Big 12 Conference honors after leading the Big 12 and ranking tenth nationally in total tackles (128). Smith is key to a defense that ranks fourth nationally in red zone defense and eighth nationally in forced turnovers (30).
NFL Network is available on Comcast in Minneapolis-St. Paul as well as on DirecTV, DISH Network and additional cable operators and telcos. In the Des Moines-Ames market in Iowa, the game is available on DirecTV and DISH Network as well as on WOI-TV - ABC 5.
This is the fourth year NFL Network has had exclusive rights to the Insight Bowl. The 2009 Insight Bowl is part of NFL Network's college football and Path to the Draft programming which includes the Under Armour Senior Bowl and the 2010 Scouting Combine. Live pick-by-pick coverage of the 2010 NFL Draft airs Thursday, April 22 through Saturday, April 24 on NFL Network.