Insight Bowl grade card

TEMPE, AZ--Missouri fell to Iowa 27-24 in the Insight Bowl on Tuesday night. Which Tigers passed with flying colors and where did Mizzou miss the mark? hands out the grades:
Quarterback: Blaine Gabbert wasn't perfect. But he was damn close. In 57 throws, Gabbert made perhaps two bad ones. It is unfortunate for him that one of them, in large part, cost Missouri the game. The one interception should never have been thrown, something Gabbert said himself after the game. It also shouldn't hide the fact he may have played the best game of his life. Final Grade: B+
Tailbacks: They were never really involved because Missouri's passing game was going so well. When they did run the ball, the tailbacks had 84 yards on 14 carries. Final Grade: B
Receivers: Jerrell Jackson's drop at the end of the first half hurt. But he also had nine catches for 129 yards. T.J. Moe was phenomenal. Wes Kemp had one of his best games and Michael Egnew had a great second half. Final Grade: A-
Offensive Line: Iowa had three sacks, but in more than 60 pass plays, Gabbert was rarely hurried. The Tiger tailbacks averaged six yards a carry. All that against one of America's best defensive lines with a starter suspended. Final Grade: A
Defensive Line: Marcus Coker ran for 221 yards. He had big plays, he had tough runs and he ran out the clock at the end. Missouri hardly got close to Ricky Stanzi. Final Grade: D
Linebackers: Very few noticeable plays from this crew all night. The Tigers just didn't do much to slow down the Hawkeyes. And when a running back goes for 219 yards, your linebackers missed some tackles. Final Grade: D
Secondary: Iowa had a lot of open receivers in the first half. But in the second, Kevin Rutland and Jarrell Harrison had game-changing interceptions and the Tigers' coverage was very good. Final Grade: B
Special Teams: Missouri's kickoff coverage was poor. Their kickoff returns were worse than that. Carl Gettis dropped a punt. The lone bright spot was Matt Grabner booting a 55-yard punt out of bounds at the three, but even then the Hawkeyes drove for a field goal. Final Grade: D+
Coaching: Missouri was ready. This wasn't the Texas Bowl. As Aldon Smith told me after the game, "Last year we were embarrassed. This year, we made a mistake." Many will bemoan the playcalling, but when the passing game is working as well as it was, it's silly NOT to keep going to it. Iowa didn't stop it until the fatal interception. Missouri was in position to win this game. They made a few mistakes that prevented them from doing so. Those mistakes weren't on the coaching staff. I won't give out an A for a loss, but the team was ready to play, they just fell short. Final Grade: B
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