HOUSTON – Texas Tech University and the University of Minnesota have accepted bids to play in the 2012 Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas, the bowl organizing committee announced Sunday.
The Red Raiders will represent the Big 12 Conference, while the Golden Gophers will represent the Big Ten Conference. The 2012 Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas will be played at 8 p.m., on Dec. 28 and will air on ESPN and ESPN Radio.
“We are thrilled to welcome Texas Tech back to Houston for its first time since 2003,” Heather Houston, executive director of the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas, said. “We feel that the Red Raiders will be a great match for Minnesota and that football fans in Houston will love their exciting offense.”
The Red Raiders (7-5), led by head coach Tommy Tuberville, feature a dynamic offensive attack directed by the passing of senior quarterback Seth Doege, who finished the season with 3,934 passing yards and 38 passing touchdowns. Doege ranks fourth in the nation in passing and sixth in passing yards per game. The wide receiver duo of senior Darrin Moore and junior Eric Ward combined for 1,922 receiving yards and 24 touchdowns this season.
Defensively, the Red Raiders are led by senior defensive back Cody Davis, who leads the team with 82 tackles and three interceptions on the year. Junior defensive end Kerry Hyder led Texas Tech on the defensive line with his 13.5 tackles for loss and five sacks.
Texas Tech is bowl eligible for the 19th time in the last 20 seasons. The Red Raiders are searching for their first bowl win since 2010 when they defeated Northwestern 45-38 in the Cotton Bowl.
The Golden Gophers (6-6), led by head coach Jerry Kill, run a balanced attack keyed by the running of sophomore runningback Donnell Kirkwood, who finished the season with 849 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. The quarterback trio of sophomore Max Shortell, freshman Philip Nelson and senior QB/WR MarQuies Gray combined to pass for 2,052 yards and 17 touchdowns on the year.
Defensively, the Gophers are led by four all-conference standouts.
Senior second-team All-Big Ten defensive end D.L. Wilhite tied for second in the conference with 8.5 sacks, while his 11 tackles for loss ranked 11th in the conference.
Senior cornerback Michael Carter, junior defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman and senior cornerback Troy Stoudermire each earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors. Stoudermire and Carter helped the Gophers rank 11th nationally in pass defense, allowing a mere 178.5 yards per game through the air.
Minnesota will be looking for its first bowl win since the 2004 Music City Bowl, when it defeated Alabama 20-16. A Gopher victory would also improve the Big Ten’s record in the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas to 2-1 following Illinois’ 38-14 win over Baylor in 2010 and Northwestern’s 33-22 loss to Texas A&M last year.
Ticket prices range from $30-115 and may be purchased online at http://www.ticketmaster.com, on the phone at 832-667-2390 or in person at the Reliant Stadium box office inside Budweiser Plaza.
The bowl has already sold more than 40,000 tickets through renewals, Bowl Backer packages, pre-sales and team allotments.