Page last updated on Sun Mar 29 08:29:32 EDT 2015
12/29/2012 2:22 AM EST
Texas Tech rallies to beat Minnesota 34-31

AP Sports Writer

HOUSTON (AP) -- Seth Doege and D.J. Johnson both made mistakes
that cost Texas Tech on Friday night.

But with the game on the line in the fourth quarter, the two
seniors stepped up to save the game.

Johnson, who got beat on a long play in the third quarter,
returned an interception 39 yards and Ryan Bustin made a 28-yard
field goal as time expired to give Texas Tech a 34-31 comeback
victory over Minnesota in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

Doege found Eric Ward on a short pass, and he outran a defender
for a 35-yard scoring play to pull the Red Raiders even at 31
with just more than a minute remaining.

Michael Carter intercepted two of Doege's passes in the fourth
quarter before the tying score, but Minnesota couldn't convert
either of the turnovers into points.

The Red Raiders (8-5) got their third straight bowl win to wrap
up a month that began with coach Tommy Tuberville's abrupt
departure for the job at Cincinnati. Texas Tech has hired Kliff
Kingsbury to replace him, but interim coach Chris Thomsen led
the team against Minnesota (6-7). Kingsbury was at the game,
watching from a suite.

"More than anything I credit those players," Thomsen said of
Johnson and Doege. "They really held it together ... to get to
make those plays after they struggled. They kept their poise and
confidence and continued to stay in there and battle."

Johnson said it was fitting that they dealt with so much
adversity on Friday night considering the tough month they've

"As a team we just continued to fight and have faith and work
together," Johnson said. "This is a huge win for us as a group."

Doege threw for 271 yards and a touchdown and ran for another
score in front of a crowd that included 1977 Heisman Trophy
winner Earl Campbell and former Texas Tech coach Spike Dykes.

"That drive where we went and tied the game, we finally started
clicking," Doege said. "It happened at the right time - probably
should have happened sooner."

Freshman Philip Nelson threw for 138 yards and two scores for
the Gophers, who were in a bowl game for the first time since

"I think our kids played hard tonight; they played their guts
out, and I appreciate that," Minnesota coach Jerry Kill said.
"We just couldn't make a play at a critical time."

The Red Raiders returned to a bowl after having their 18-season
bowl streak snapped last year.

A 1-yard touchdown pass from Nelson to Drew Goodger gave
Minnesota a 31-24 lead early in the fourth quarter.

Texas Tech led 24-17 at halftime, but couldn't do anything
offensively in the second half until the last couple of minutes.
It was an ugly game for the Red Raiders, who had 13 penalties
for 135 yards and lost tight end Jace Amaro when he was ejected
for throwing a punch.

"There was really no excuse for it," Thomsen said of the
penalties. "We didn't play very smart."

Jakeem Grant ran for what was initially ruled a Tech touchdown
late in the third quarter. Amaro threw a punch at Derrick Wells
in the end zone on the play and was ejected.

After the penalty, the play was reviewed and overturned. Doege
threw an incomplete pass before Tech made a 32-yard field goal.
But the Red Raiders had a false start penalty on the play and
had to kick again and this time the Gophers blocked it.

Nelson threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Devin Crawford-Tufts,
who was left uncovered in the end zone, to tie it at 24 early in
the third quarter.

Donnell Kirkwood scored on a 3-yard run to leave Minnesota up
17-14 early in the second.

Texas Tech had a first-and-goal at the Minnesota 2 after a
pass-interference call on the Gophers. But Texas Tech had to
settle for a field goal after a rush for a 3-yard loss and two

Minnesota's next drive started out well before turning ugly. The
Gophers had made two first downs before MarQueis Gray was sacked
for a loss of 7 yards. Kirkwood ran for 17 yards on the next
play, but Minnesota received two 15-yard penalties on the play,
one for a personal foul on lineman Zac Epping, to make it
second-and-42. Epping received a second personal foul penalty on
the next play to bring up third-and-49.

Christian Eldred shanked the punt, giving Texas Tech the ball at
the Minnesota 42.

The Red Raiders capitalized on their great field position when
Doege spun away from a defender in the backfield and leaped over
another Gophers player near the goal line on a 4-yard touchdown
run. Tech converted a fourth-and-6 play on that drive, and led
by seven at halftime.

Minnesota's Rodrick Williams Jr. scored on a 2-yard run to give
the Gophers a 10-7 lead in the first quarter.

Doege lost his helmet on a 5-yard scramble on Tech's next drive
and had to go out for one play. He was replaced by Michael
Brewer, who found Derreck Edwards for a 13-yard touchdown pass
to give the Red Raiders a 14-10 lead.

Minnesota's Troy Stoudermire returned the opening kickoff 26
yards to break the NCAA record for career kickoff return yards.
He finished the game with 111 to push his total to 3,615.

The Gophers ended that drive with a 41-yard field goal to make
it 3-0.

Grant returned the ensuing kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown to
put Texas Tech up 7-3.

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