Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders (-13, 55.5)
MEINEKE CAR CARE BOWL OF TEXAS STORYLINES
1. Offensive line coach Chris Thomsen, who has seven years of coaching experience at Abilene Christian, will guide the Red Raiders following the surprise departure of Tommy Tuberville to Cincinnati. The good news is that some players, angered by Tuberville's decision to leave, said they want to take out their anger on Minnesota.
2. Beside stumbling to the finishing line on the field, Minnesota also had its share of issues off it. Wide receiver A.J. Barker, who had a team-best 30 receptions and seven touchdowns, quit the squad late in the season claiming mistreatment by coach Jerry Kill and the training staff over an ankle injury while backup quarterback Max Shortell announced he was transferring.
3. The Gophers, who scored 30 or more points in a game only three times this season, must find a way to slow down a high-scoring Red Raiders' offense that averaged 37.75 points and scored 41 or more points in a game seven times.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPN.
LINE: Texas Tech opened around -12.5 and has been bet up to -13. The total opened at 57 and has been bet down to 55.5.
CONSENSUS: 66 percent of Covers Consensus players are on Texas Tech while 69 percent are on the over.
* Golden Gophers are 4-1 ATS in their last five non-conference games.
* Red Raiders are 1-5 ATS in their last six Bowl games.
* Under is 7-3 in Golden Gophers' last 10 non-conference games.
* Over is 5-0 in Red Raiders' last five bowl games.
ABOUT MINNESOTA (6-6, 2-6 Big Ten, 5-7 ATS): Despite a 2-6 finish in the Big Ten that saw the Gophers outscored by a combined 64-24 in back-to-back regular season ending losses to Nebraska and Michigan State, Jerry Kill's squad is making its first appearance in a bowl game since losing to Iowa State in the 2009 Insight Bowl. Only seven seniors on the squad played in that contest so the Gophers, who went 3-9 in both 2010 and 2011, are happy to be here, especially the 13 players on the team that hail from Texas. Kill, who has had epilepsy for nine years, missed the second half of the season finale against Michigan State after suffering a seizure. The Gophers are solid on defense but have struggled badly on offense, ranking 111th nationally with an average of 317.5 yards. Freshman quarterback Philip Nelson, who took over the starting job for the final month of the season, completed only 50 percent of his passes and threw more interceptions (seven) than touchdowns (six).
ABOUT TEXAS TECH (7-5, 4-5 Big 12, 6-6 ATS): Like Minnesota, the Red Raiders also sputtered to the finish line, losing four of their last five games with the only victory a 41-34 double overtime victory over 1-11 Kansas. That win was sandwiched between losses to Kansas State, Texas, Oklahoma State and to Baylor in double overtime in the season finale. Senior quarterback Seth Doege passed for 3,934 yards and 38 touchdowns while completing 70.4 percent of his passes, including 81 to senior wide receiver Darrin Moore. Although the defense allowed almost 32 points per game in the wild, wild Big 12, it ranked a respectable 39th nationally in total defense allowing 367 yards per game.