Meineke Car Care Bowl Preview Capsule

Published On: Dec 27 2012 11:04:26 PM CST
Minnesota Golden Gophers

Minnesota (6-6) vs. Texas Tech (7-5), 9 p.m. EST (ESPN)

Line: Texas Tech by 13

Series Record: Texas Tech leads 1-0.

WHAT'S AT STAKE

The Red Raiders return to a bowl after having their 18-season bowl streak snapped last year. They want to end the season on a high note after a tumultuous month in which coach Tommy Tuberville left for Cincinnati. Texas Tech hired Kliff Kingsbury, but will be led by interim coach Chris Thomsen in the bowl. Minnesota is in a bowl for the first time since 2009. The Gophers are looking for their first bowl win since 2004.

KEY MATCHUP

Texas Tech QB Seth Doege against Minnesota's defense. Doege is fourth in the nation in yards passing with 3,934 and his 38 touchdown passes are second in the country. The Gophers rank 11th in the nation in pass defense, allowing 178.5 yards a game, and they've given up 300 yards passing only once this season.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Minnesota: RB Donnell Kirkwood. He leads the team with 849 yards rushing, and his three 100-yard rushing games this season are the most since Amir Pinnix had five in 2006. He had a season-high 152 yards rushing in a 17-3 win against Illinois.

Texas Tech: WRs Darrin Moore and Eric Ward. Moore has 81 catches for 948 yards and Ward has 75 catches for 974 yards. Moore has 13 touchdown receptions and Ward has 11. If the pair can both reach 1,000 yards receiving, they'll be the first Tech duo to reach the mark since Danny Amendola and Michael Crabtree in 2007. Ward is averaging 124 yards receiving a game over the last five games. Moore is the third Red Raider in the last 12 years to have 10 touchdown receptions in Big 12 play.

FACTS & FIGURES

The only other meeting between these teams came when Tech beat Minnesota 44-41 in overtime in the 2006 Insight Bowl. The Red Raiders set an NCAA record for largest comeback in a FBS bowl game by rallying from a 31-point deficit for the win. ... This is Texas Tech's 35th bowl game and the 15th for Minnesota. ... The Red Raiders have won their last two bowl games. ... The Gophers beat Alabama 20-16 in the 2004 Music City Bowl for their last bowl win. ... Tech is playing in its fourth straight bowl game in Texas and its eighth since 2000. ... A victory would give Minnesota a winning record for the first time since going 7-6 in 2008. ... The Red Raiders have scored in a school-record 193 straight games. ... Minnesota has 13 players from Texas. ... The Gophers have held three opponents to 10 points or less this season.