The Call: Gophers vs. Texas Tech

  • Updated: December 27, 2012 - 9:56 PM

They lost four of their past five games and then their coach, but Texas Tech remains a prolific scoring team.

NUMBERS TO KNOW

4 Consecutive bowl losses by Minnesota, the past three to Big 12 opponents

31 Deficit overcome by Texas Tech against Minnesota in 2006 Insight Bowl, the largest in bowl history

DON'T FORGET ABOUT

Michael Carter

It's his final game, too, and the Gophers' pass-breakup leader figures to get plenty of work.

GOPHERS OFFENSE VS. RED RAIDERS DEFENSE

The two-quarterback plan will keep Texas Tech guessing, especially if MarQueis Gray can run the ball. The Red Raiders' biggest defensive weakness is stopping the run; Texas Tech opponents rushed for an average of 244 yards per game over the second half of the season. The Gophers want to keep the clock moving and Texas Tech's offense off the field, so count on Gray and tailback Donnell Kirkwood to get lots of work. Advantage: Minnesota

GOPHERS DEFENSE VS. RED RAIDERS OFFENSE

The Red Raiders figure to finish the season with a 4,000-yard passer and two 1,000-yard receivers, so the Gophers' secondary, which allows a completion rate of only 56 percent, faces its biggest test in quarterback Seth Doege and his chief targets, Darrin Moore and Eric Ward. They are turnover-prone, however; the Red Raiders have lost eight fumbles, and Doege has been intercepted 14 times, so Gophers will be aggressive in trying to take ball away. Advantage: Texas Tech

SPECIAL TEAMS

Neither team punts very well, but the Gophers are significantly better on kick coverage. The placekickers are roughly even; Jordan Wettstein's longest field goal was a 48-yarder for Minnesota, while Ryan Bustin has hit a 50-yarder for Texas Tech. Indoors at Reliant Stadium, their range might be even longer. Advantage: Even

INTANGIBLES

The crowd is expected to number close to 50,000, and they should favor the home-state Red Raiders. But the Gophers appear to believe they have far more to prove. Advantage: Gophers

PREDICTION

The time off to regroup and heal up will energize the Gophers, and some early successes -- a long run or two by Gray or Kirkwood, a surprise deep ball by Nelson -- could stun the two-touchdown-favorite Red Raiders. But when the defenses tire, Texas Tech's no-huddle offense should score a lot. Red Raiders 38, Gophers 30

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