Meineke Bowl Preview
Minnesota (6-6) vs. Texas Tech (7-5)
December 28, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN)
What to expect with the Gophers: Minnesota is going to try to establish a power running game early on and hope that it doesn’t have to throw much. Although the Gophers have struggled finding success on the ground for much of the season, they’re even worse through the air – averaging 171.4 yards per game (108th in the NCAA).
Sophomore running back Donnell Kirkwood has eclipsed the 100-yard mark three times year, and in those three games, Minnesota is 3-0. The rest: 3-6. He’ll have to do so again in demanding fashion if the Gophers want to keep that Red Raider offense off the field.
What to expect with the Red Raiders: Do what they do best: throw the ball. QB Seth Doege has been outstanding this season, amassing 3,934 yards and 38 touchdowns as a passer. Receivers Eric Ward and Darrin Moore – who have combined for 24 scores – should be just as explosive as they were during the regular season.
Texas Tech has won just one of its last five games, but much of that came at the hands of premiere Big 12 offenses: Kansas State, Texas, Oklahoma State and Baylor all averaged 49.3 points against the Red Raiders’ defense. This shouldn’t be a problem against a Minnesota offense that has proved to be stagnant and will try to run the ball, while TTU owns a decent front seven.
Synopsis: Texas Tech could experience a “Tommy Tuberville departure” hangover, but not for a full 60 minutes. This air raid is just too overwhelming for what Minnesota brings to the table, and in end the end – whether the Red Raiders start off slow or not – it will be more than enough to bring down the Gophers.
I expect this to be a three-score game, but wouldn’t be surprised if it gets worse than that. This is not your typical Minnesota team (but then again, six wins and bowl eligibility is rare in Minneapolis), however, it just does not possesses the firepower needed to hang with this kind of offense.
Texas Tech 38, Minnesota 17 --- via Bowl Predictions