Meineke Car Care Bowl 2012: Texas Tech vs. Minnesota TV Info and Predictions

David Regimbal@davidreg412Featured ColumnistDecember 3, 2012

Meineke Car Care Bowl 2012: Texas Tech vs. Minnesota TV Info and Predictions

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    The 2012 Meineke Car Care Bowl will pin the Texas Tech Red Raiders (7-5) against the Minnesota Golden Gophers (6-6) in a Big 12 - Big Ten matchup. 

    Texas Tech and Tommy Tuberville will attack Minnesota with its second-ranked pass offense, which has averaged 362 yards per game in 2012.

    Head coach Jerry Kill and Minnesota will try and counter that with the No. 11 pass defense that only allows 179 yards per game through the air.

    Get all the details of the matchup between Texas Tech and Minnesota with our complete Armed Forces Bowl preview.

Game-Day Info

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    Where: Reliant Stadium, Houston, Texas

    When: December 28, 2012 with an 8:00 p.m. CST kickoff

    TV: ESPN

    Radio: ESPN Radio

    Betting Line: Texas Tech -13 (via vegasinsider.com)

Key Storylines

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    The Texas Tech Red Raiders started the season hot, winning three straight non-conference games against overmatched opponents by an average of 40 points.

    Things went downhill during conference play. The Red Raiders got blown out by Oklahoma in the league-opener, but looked to have straightened things out after routing No. 5 West Virginia and escaping TCU in triple overtime.

    Texas Tech couldn’t maintain that momentum, though, and dropped four of its last five games by an average of 21 points. Its only win during that stretch came against the 1-11 Kansas Jayhawks.

    The Minnesota Gophers have taken a very similar path to the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

    The Gophers fell apart during league play after starting the season with four straight victories over non-conference opponents. Minnesota only beat two Big Ten teams this year—Purdue and Illinois—both of which rank near the bottom of the conference after struggling mightily this season.

    Both teams will be looking to salvage disappointing conference performances with a bowl-game victory.

Texas Tech Depth Chart and Injury Report

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    Offense:

    QB: Seth Doege | Michael Brewer
    RB: Kenny Williams | Eric Stephens Jr.
    WR-X: Eric Ward | Marcus Kennard
    WR-H: Jakeem Grant | Austin Zouzalik
    WR-Y: Tyson Williams | Alex Torres
    WR-Z: Darrin Moore | Marcus Kennard
    TE: Jace Amaro
    LT: LaAdrian Waddle | Rashad Fortenberry
    LG: Beau Carpenter | Alfredo Morales
    C: Deveric Gallington | Jared Kaster
    RG: Le’Raven Clark | James Polk
    RT: Terry McDaniel | Trey Keenan

    Defense:

    LE: Dartwan Bush | Branden Jackson
    DT: Kerry Hyder | Leon Mackey
    NT: Delvon Simmons | Dennell Wesley
    RE: Jackson Richards | Pete Robertson
    SAM: Micah Awe | Zach Winbush
    MIKE: Will Smith | Blake Dees
    WILL: Sam Eguavoen | Zach Winbush
    LS: D.J. Johnson | J.J. Gaines
    RS: Cody Davis | Chris Yeakey
    RC: Eugene Neboh | Olaoluwa Falemei
    LC: Bruce Jones | Cornelius Douglas
    NIKL: Tre’ Porter  | Jarvis Phillips

    Special Teams:

    PK: Ryan Bustin | Andrew Bowman
    P: Ryan Erxleben | Ryan Bustin
    PR: Austin Zouzalik | Alex Torres
    KR: SaDale Foster | Jordan Davis

    Injury Report (via usatoday.com):

    Terrance Bullitt
    Omar Ontiveros
    Javon Bell
    Bradley Marquez
    Javares McRoy
    Michael Starts
    DeAndre Washington

Minnesota Depth Chart and Injury Report

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    Offense:

    QB: Philip Nelson | Max Shortell
    RB: Donnell Kirkwood | Rodrick Williams Jr.
    FB: Johnâ ˆRabe | Mike Henry
    WR-Y:  Lincoln Plsek | Alex Bisch  
    WR-Z: Isaac Fruechte | Brandon Green
    WR-X: MarQueis Gray  | Devin Crawford-Tufts
    WR-H: Derrick Engel | Victor Keise
    LT: Ed Olson | Marek Lenkiewicz
    LG: Tommy Olson | Ernie Heifort
    C: Zac Epping | Jon Christenson
    RG: Caleb Bak | Joe Bjorklund
    RT: Josh Campion | Foster Bush

    Defense:

    DE: Michael Amaefula | Ben Perry
    DT: Cameron Botticelli | Harold Legania
    NT: Ra'Shede Hageman | Scott Ekpe
    DE: D.L. Wilhite | Theiren Cockran
    SLB: Aaron Hill | Spencer Reeves
    MLB: Mike Rallis | Ryan Grant
    WLB: Keanon Cooper | James Manuel
    CB: Troy Stoudermire | Jeremy Baltazar
    S: Derrick Wells | Damarius Travis
    S: Cedric Thompson or Brock Vereen
    CB: Michael Carter | Martez Shabazz

    Special Teams:

    K: Jordan Wettstein |  Chris Hawthorne
    P: Christian Eldred
    KR: Troy Stoudermire | Marcus Jones
    PR: Michael Carter

    Injury Report (via usatoday.com):

    Zach Mottla
    Roland Johnson
    Duke Anyanwu
    Quinn Bauducco
    Jamel Harbison
    Kendall Gregory-McGhee

Texas Tech Player to Watch

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    QB Seth Doege

    Texas Tech’s offense starts and stops with senior quarterback Seth Doege.

    Doege has thrown for 3,934 yards and 38 touchdowns against 14 interceptions this season. He is completing over 70 percent of his passes, and has two receivers in Eric Ward and Darrin Moore that will likely finish the year with over 1,000 yards receiving at his disposal.

    Taking care of the ball will be pivotal for Doege, though, because nine of his 14 interceptions came during Texas Tech’s five losses this season.

Minnesota Player to Watch

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    DE D.L. Wilhite

    Wilhite had a fantastic year for the Minnesota defense, racking up 30 tackles and a team-high 11 tackles for loss, including eight and a half sacks.

    With a struggling Minnesota offense that only averaged 21 points per game this year, the defense will have to play its best game of the year to have a chance at winning. That would require Wilhite to have the best game of his career, as no one on this defense can effect a game like the senior defensive end.

Key Matchups

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    Texas Tech can light up a scoreboard pretty easily, but they do have trouble keeping opposing teams from doing the same.

    Despite having the defensive-minded Tommy Tuberville running things, the Red Raiders are giving up over 31 points per game to its opponents this year, which ranks 93rd in the country. Texas Tech does a pretty good job limiting total yardage, but that doesn’t matter much when teams are scoring at will.

    Whether Minnesota will be able to take advantage of that is the big question. The Gophers have had a hard time putting points on the board under second-year coach Jerry Kill. 

    The Gophers don’t just struggle scoring, but moving the ball in general. Minnesota is averaging a meager 318 yards of offense per game this year. If they’re expecting to keep up with the No. 12 offense in the country, they’ll need a huge boost from a unit that has struggled all year.

Texas Tech Will Win If...

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    Texas Tech will win if Doege doesn’t turn the ball over.

    Minnesota doesn’t have a strong offense, so if the Red Raiders take care of the ball and avoid putting their defense in a bad position, they should be able to win this one easily.

Minnesota Will Win If...

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    Minnesota will win if its defense can force at least three turnovers in addition to the offense playing its best game of the season.

    Everyone from the special teams to the coaching will need to be at their best to beat the Red Raiders, but if the defense doesn’t make a few huge plays, Texas Tech could run away with this one.

Prediction

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    Texas Tech 45, Minnesota 20

    Seth Doege throws for 350 yards and four touchdowns as Texas Tech cruises to an easy victory.

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