Golden Gophers vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders in Meineke Car Care Bowl - OPEN THREAD

Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE
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TV: ESPN
Game Time: 8:00 PM (CST)
Radio: 100.3 FM, 1130 AM

The seniors earned one final bowl game and the young offense got a couple week's worth of practice. But the Gophers are big underdogs against Texas Tech, can they pull off the upset?

The Stats

Minnesota Gophers Texas Tech
Points / Game 21.3 37.8
Pass Yards 171.4 361.9
Rush Yards 146.1 139.5 (last)
3rd Down % 34.4% 48.4%
Key Offensive Player to Watch MarQueis Gray
Seth Doege (38 TD passes, 14 INTs, both led Big12)
Points Allowed/Game 23.9 31.8
Pass Yards 178.5 195.8
Rush Yards 174.2 171.4
3rd Down % 40.6% 39.0%
Key Defensive Player to Watch Michael Carter and Troy Stoudermire
Cody Davis and Eugene Neboh

Three Gopher Questions

  1. Can the Gophers move the ball? - Texas Tech was 2nd in the Big 12 in pass defense giving up just 196 yards per game through the air, which is a major accomplishment in the Big 12. S-Cody Davis recorded 82 solo tackles (2nd in Big 12) and CB-Eugene Neboh had 13 pass break-ups. In order to put up points, I think we are going to have to move the ball through the air a little bit. This might be a tall order considering TTU has a solid pass defense and we are without any receivers. I have a bit more confidence in our ground game, especially if Gray is getting a number of snaps. Can we get a lead and establish the run? That would be nice.
  2. Can the Gophers slow down the TTU passing attack? - this is a Texas-sized all order. I like our pass defense, but it is going to take everybody from the pass rush to the safeties today.
  3. Will MarQueis Gray be a bigger part of the offense? - This question was here for the Michigan State game and with the news that Gray is splitting snaps with Nelson in practice one would expect to see him with a much larger role today.
  4. Which team is coming ready to play? - Bowl games can be kind of screwy and difficult to predict. Sometimes it really comes down to which teams want to win and which teams are just enjoying the vacation. Minnesota is thrilled to get a bowl game and they claim to want one final win, but maybe they are just enjoying the trip while the game is an afterthought. Texas Tech lost four of their last five, their coach left them for a Big East program and they have had a few players suspended for the game. Are they just going through the motions with anxiety towards next season under a new coaching staff? I don't know the answer but the team that prepared like they want to win and the team that plays as though they are not on vacation is the one who will win.

Looking for reasons for optimism? Texas Tech was the most penalized team in Big 12 and their -12 turnover ratio (generated only 10 turnovers on the season) was also the worst in the conference.

My one prediction for the game is this...Troy Stoudermire finally houses a kickoff in his last game as a Golden Gopher!

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