Red Raiders fans expected out in full force

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 27, 2012 - 11:22 PM

More than 60,000 fans could show up for Friday night's Meineke Car Care Bowl in Reliant Stadium, and Texas Tech left tackle LaAdrian Waddle is pretty sure of one thing: They won't be rooting for the Gophers.

HOUSTON -- More than 60,000 fans could show up for Friday night's Meineke Car Care Bowl in Reliant Stadium, and Texas Tech left tackle LaAdrian Waddle is pretty sure of one thing: They won't be rooting for the Gophers.

"Oh yeah, our people are coming out. The alumni down here, the fans who are driving down, just all the Texans, we know they're here to support us," the All-Big 12 offensive lineman said. "We always get a little extra juice from the crowd. It really gets us going."

Funny thing, though. The Gophers figure being the bad guys, the invaders from up north, will get them going, too. Energy is energy, after all, and the Reliant Stadium crowd has numbered greater than 68,000 for each of the past three years.

"We know it'll be a Tech crowd. They travel well, and we're in their backyard. But it's going to make the game that much more fun," said senior linebacker Keanon Cooper. "Having it be an actual game atmosphere, rather than an empty stadium like a lot of bowl games, I'm really looking forward to that."

He's looking forward to seeing some familiar faces in that crowd, too. Cooper is one of 13 Texans on the Gophers' roster, and the only one to have played in every Minnesota game for the past four years. But in none of his previous 49 collegiate games was his Texas family -- his mother, siblings, aunts, uncles -- present to watch. That changes Friday, in his collegiate finale.

"I have a lot of family coming up. It's a sight," said Cooper, a Dallas native who helped provide tickets for 23 family members and friends. "They've never seen me play football, so it's going to mean a lot for me to see them there."

Even if it won't be easy picking them out among the Texas Tech hordes.

More wrinkles to come?

The Red Raiders are already one of the most unique teams in college football, utilizing a no-huddle offense to keep defenses from catching their breath. But with a month to prepare, the Gophers can expect to see even more wrinkles from the Texas Tech attack.

"I'm a little bit conservative, but I've got some coaches on my staff that are prodding me -- 'Let's do this, let's do that,' " said Chris Thomsen, who took over bowl preparations three weeks ago when coach Tommy Tuberville left to become the head coach at Cincinnati. "So I'll probably open up a little bit. [The players] are fired up about doing some different things."

Gophers took rocky road

The Gophers opened the season with four consecutive victories, but the Big Ten season was a far bigger challenge, and in a lot of different ways. Kill's No. 1 and 2 quarterbacks both got hurt, the offensive line was hit with a wave of injuries, Kill himself had a couple of seizure episodes, and leading receiver A.J. Barker quit the team.

"We've kind of done things the hard way, I guess you could say," Kill said.

So looking back on a 6-6 season, which game was the highlight of Minnesota's season?

"I think Syracuse was probably the game where our team played with tremendous enthusiasm, played very hard," Kill said of the Gophers' 17-10 victory over the Orange on Sept. 22. "They had a very skilled group of receivers and quarterback, [and] they spread the ball, went no-huddle. I thought we played very well. ... We did some good things offensively."

Of course, that game was quarterbacked by Max Shortell, who decided to transfer shortly after the regular season ended. This game will feature freshman Philip Nelson and senior MarQueis Gray at quarterback, but "hopefully we can execute like that" against Texas Tech, Kill said.

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Cincinnati - LP: M. Latos 4 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: B. Norris 5
Boston - WP: J. Kelly 9 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: S. Greene 4
Detroit - WP: P. Coke 4 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Allen 2
NY Mets - WP: J. Niese 8 FINAL
Miami - LP: B. Penny 6
Philadelphia - WP: K. Kendrick 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: M. Minor 0
Toronto - WP: R. Dickey 8 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: J. Hellickson 2
Milwaukee - LP: Y. Gallardo 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta 7
LA Angels - LP: C. Wilson 3 FINAL
Houston - WP: B. Peacock 8
Chicago WSox - WP: D. Webb 6 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: L. Oliveros 3
Texas - LP: M. Kirkman 1 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Frasor 2
Pittsburgh - LP: J. Locke 4 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: A. Wainwright 6
San Francisco - WP: G. Kontos 12 FINAL
Colorado - LP: M. Belisle 7
Seattle - WP: J. Paxton 6 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Gray 5
Washington - LP: D. Fister 1 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: C. Kershaw 4
Arizona - LP: B. Ziegler 1 FINAL
San Diego - WP: K. Quackenbush 2
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
Buffalo 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
New Orleans 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta
Minnesota 9/7/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Cleveland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Jacksonville 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Oakland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Cincinnati 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Washington 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Tennessee 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
New England 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Tampa Bay
San Francisco 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Indianapolis 9/7/14 7:30 PM
Denver
NY Giants 9/8/14 6:10 PM
Detroit
San Diego 9/8/14 9:20 PM
Arizona
Miami-Florida 13 FINAL
(25) Louisville 31
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(7) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(19) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(18) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(23) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(2) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Washington
(14) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(13) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(15) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(7) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(17) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(21) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(15) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(12) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(16) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(9) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(21) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(8) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(11) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Toronto 12 FINAL
Hamilton 13
Edmonton 13 FINAL
Calgary 28
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Minnesota 78 FINAL
Phoenix 96
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