(Video courtesy ESPN)
The Golden Gophers led for nearly the entire fourth quarter, but Texas Tech QB Seth Doege connected with WR Eric Ward on a 35-yard touchdown pass with 70 seconds remaining to tie the game. Minnesota (6-7) tried to go for the win in regulation, but a pass from freshman QB Philip Nelson was intercepted and Texas Tech (8-5) used a big return to set up the game-winning kick.
Minnesota hasn't won a postseason game since the 2004 Music City Bowl, while the Red Raiders claimed their third consecutive bowl win.
When the game turned: Nelson had great success with the deep ball to WR Derrick Engel against the Red Raiders, but he underthrew his target with less than a minute remaining and Texas Tech DB D.J. Johnson snagged the deflected pass. Johnson then turned upfield with a host of blockers and raced to the Minnesota 22-yard line for a 39-yard return to set up the game-winning field goal.
(Video courtesy ESPN)
Highlight moments: Minnesota DB Troy Stoudermire broke the NCAA record for career kickoff return yards in the first quarter when he ran back the opening kick 26 yards. Houston's Tyron Carrier had the previous record of 3,517 yards set in 2011. … Texas Tech WR Jakeem Grant flashed his top-end speed when he fielded a first-quarter kickoff at his 1-yard line, picked up speed and a few blockers and outraced the Minnesota coverage for a 99-yard return for a touchdown. … Doege put his team ahead at halftime by scoring on a 4-yard touchdown run with five seconds left in the second quarter when he eluded a rusher in the backfield, tucked the ball and hurdled over a defender into the end zone. … Minnesota DB Michael Carter had two fantastic interceptions. The first was a diving snare deep in man coverage, the second was a juggling grab he hauled in as he fell to the turf near midfield.
Significance of Texas Tech's win: The program ends the season on a high note, but incoming coach Kliff Kingsbury has his work cut out for him. The Red Raiders struggled with poor execution in the red zone, tackled horribly for much of the game and looked like one of the most undisciplined teams in the country. Kingsbury should have plenty of useful tape for evaluation after this one.
Significance of Minnesota's loss: The Golden Gophers finally returned to the postseason, but it wasn't enough to upset the heavily favored Red Raiders. Minnesota had numerous chances to salt away the game late in the fourth quarter but routinely came up short on first down. But the offense played one of its best games of the season and the defense looked much-improved in the second half. Coach Jerry Kill's team took another step forward -- even in defeat -- and the players should continue buying into his system.
- Minnesota QB Nelson: 7 of 16 for 138 yards, 2 TDs, INT; 12 rushes for 26 yards.
- Minnesota WR Engel: 4 catches for 108 yards.
- Texas Tech QB Doege: 31 of 45 for 271 yards, TD, 2 INTs; 5 rushes for 20 yards, TD.
- Texas Tech WR Ward: 7 catches for 79 yards, TD.
Numbers you should know:
1 -- Times this season the Golden Gophers scored more than 30 points against a Football Bowl Subdivision foe before the Meineke Car Care Bowl.
13 -- Penalties on the Red Raiders for 136 yards. Minnesota was flagged seven times for 84 yards.
77 -- Rushing yards for Minnesota RB Donnell Kirkwood. The team entered the postseason with a record of 6-1 when Kirkwood rushed for at least 70 yards in a game this year.
(For more on the Meineke Car Care Bowl, check out the Eye on College Football blog)
For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis from Big Ten bloggers Dave Carey and Mike Singer, follow @CBSSportsBigTen.