Meineke Car Care Bowl Pick – December 28th
In 2006, the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the Minnesota Golden Gophers met in the Insight Bowl. Texas Tech was a huge favorite that day, and it walked away with a wild 44-41 victory in overtime over the Golden Gophers. Now, for the first time since that point, these two clubs are going to meet again, this time in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.
Minnesota has had a frustrating season, and it could be in for a long bowl game. At the outset of the year, QB Max Shortell was the starting quarterback, and WR AJ Barker was the team’s leading receiver. Now, Shortell is transferring, and Barker has left the team. The offense really doesn’t have a heck of a lot of talent left. RB Donnell Kirkwood has rumbled for 848 yards this year along with five touchdowns. But no one else on the team has more than 331 rushing yards or more than 267 receiving yards. Though the Big Ten was a good defensive conference this year, there still really isn’t much excuse for averaging 317.5 yards and 21.3 points per game, numbers which rank amongst the worst for any of the bowl teams this year. To keep up in this game, it’s going to take a yeoman’s effort defensively. The club does rank a solid 29th in the nation in total defense, including 11th in pass defense. The team also started off at 4-0 this year and finished out the campaign at 2-6 with wins against just Purdue and Illinois.
Head Coach Tommy Tuberville is out of the picture in Lubbock, and QB Kliff Kingsbury is going to be coming back to town starting next year. The offense isn’t changing, as this always has been a high flying offense. QB Seth Doege is leading the second ranked passing attack in the nation this year at 361.9 yards per game through the air, and he has put up some great numbers. Doege completed 70.4 percent of his passes for 3,934 yards and 38 TDs against 14 picks. He’s got two great receivers that are likely going to end up with at least 1,000 yards when this one is said and done with. WR Eric Ward had 75 catches, 974 yards, and 11 TDs, while WR Darrin Moore had 81 catches, 948 yards, and 13 trips to the end zone. The defense for the Red Raiders really hasn’t been great of late though, allowing at least 31 points in six straight games, including at least 52 in three of those six.
Texas Tech is clearly the better of these two teams, but we think that this is a heck of a lot of points to be laying in a bowl game. Look for the Gophers to come out inspired in an “us against the world” mentality. They won’t win it, but they’ll at least hang in there and keep this within double digits. Texas Tech 34 – Minnesota 27