Meineke Car Care Bowl Quick Hits: Texas Tech 34, Minnesota 31

By Tom Fornelli | College Football Writer
There's no telling how many personal fouls occurred during this celebration. (US Presswire)

TEXAS TECH WON : In 2006 Texas Tech came back from a 38-7 deficit in the third quarter to beat Minnesota in the Insight Bowl. It was the biggest comeback in bowl history. Friday night wasn't quite the same feat, but Texas Tech did it to Minnesota again. After Seth Doege was picked off by Michael Carter for the second time in the fourth quarter it seemed as though the Golden Gophers would be able to salt away the remaining minutes and pick up a victory. Instead Texas Tech would force a three-and-out and Doege would atone by finding Eric Ward on an inside slant route for a 35-yard touchdown to tie the game.

On Minnesota's ensuing possession it would be Phillip Nelson's turn to throw an interception as his pass on third down was tipped and picked off by D.J. Johnson. Johnson would return the interception to the Minnesota 22-yard line and a few plays later Ryan Bustin would kick a 28-yard field goal as time expired to give Tech the victory.

WHY TEXAS TECH WON: Mostly in spite of itself, but also because it was able to take advantage of opportunities that Minnesota didn't. There has been a lot of upheaval on the Tech coaching staff in recent weeks and it showed in the game, as the Red Raiders didn't show much discipline on the night, committing 13 penalties for 136 yards. Still, while Minnesota had a few chances to put this game away and couldn't take advantage of them -- a dropped interception by Martez Shabazz comes to mind -- the Raiders did. And that's why they're finishing the season 8-5 with their third straight bowl victory. All of which have come against Big Ten opponents.

WHEN TEXAS TECH WON: As Bustin's field goal/knuckleball managed to find its way through the uprights as time expired. The field goal was pretty much a microcosm of the game for Tech, as it took an ugly route but managed to reach its destination.

WHAT TEXAS TECH WON: While Texas Tech fans are already looking ahead to 2013 and the Kliff Kingsbury Era in Lubbock, it's still nice to finish the year with a win. The win also gives Texas Tech at least 8 wins in 10 of its last 11 seasons.

WHAT MINNESOTA LOST: While it is officially only a one game difference, the gulf between a 7-6 season and a 6-7 season is quite large. That being said, aside from the closing minutes of the contest, this may have been the best game Minnesota played all season considering the opponent. This loss hurts, yes, but you get the feeling that this won't be Minnesota's last bowl appearance under Jerry Kill.

THAT WAS CRAZY: The fact Texas Tech had 13 penalties has already been mentioned, but Minnesota found itself getting flagged quite a bit itself. Between the two teams there were 20 penalties for 220 yards in the game.

Even crazier is that of those 20 penalties, 9 were personal fouls as this one got quite chippy. Texas Tech was responsible for 5 of them, including a personal foul on Jace Amaro for throwing a punch that saw the tight end get ejected. That penalty also may have wiped 7 points off the board as Texas Tech went from having the ball at the 1-yard line to the 16-yard line and would eventually have a field goal attempt blocked. Jace Amaro owes his teammates a hug for keeping him from being the goat in this one.

 
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