Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas
Minnesota Gophers (6-6) and Texas Tech Red Raiders (7-5)
Dec. 28, 8 p.m. CT
ESPN – Houston, TX
Player Swag Bag: Fossil watch, 32-inch flat-screen TV, belt buckle, T-shirt, lapel pin, backpack
Minnesota’s Season – Minnesota won its first four games of the season but then went 2-6 in during a down-year for the B1G. Still, Gopher fans have to be feeling good about the direction Jerry Kill appears to be leading the program. The player to watch is WR/QB MarQueis Gray. He began the year behind center but has been very effective as a rusher and receiver later in the year. DE D.L. Wilhite could have a good game. He has 8.5 sacks on the year and will be matched up against Red Raider tackles that struggle against speed. The key for Minnesota might be the play of CBs Michael Carter and Troy Stoudermire against Texas Tech’s receivers.
Texas Tech’s Season – The Red Raiders went 7-5 in a strong Big 12 Conference and have the nation’s 12th rated offense. However they lost four of their last five regular season games and lost head coach Tommy Tuberville to Cincinnati. The Offensive line coach Chris Thomsen will be the interim head coach for the Red Raiders. Texas Tech will be playing without suspended seniors CB Cornelius Douglas and DT Leon Mackey and suspended sophomore LB Chris Payne. On offense watch the play of talented WR Eric Ward if he can break down the Gopher passing coverage it could be a long night for Minnesota.
The Game – The current spread favors Texas Tech by 13 points. That may be a bit high since the line was set before Texas Tech lost their head coach, offensive coordinator and a handful of defensive players. Texas Tech has struggled against the run all year. Expect the Red Raiders to play to their strength on offense and throw a lot of passes testing what was a good Minnesota secondary. I’m still not prepared to predict a Gopher win. Texas Tech will win a close one.
Texas Tech 31 – Minnesota 28