Texas Tech Comeback Sinks Minnesota 44-41 At Insight Bowl

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- After spotting Minnesota a 31-point lead, Texas Tech rallied for a stunning 44-41 overtime victory in the Insight Bowl Friday night.

Joel Monroe kicked a 32-yard field goal to put Minnesota up 41-38 in overtime, but Shannon Woods scored on a 3-yard run to win it for the Red Raiders.

Tech (8-6) appeared finished after Minnesota (6-7) took a 38-7 lead with 7:47 to go in the third quarter. But the Red Raiders mounted a furious comeback, scoring 31 unanswered points in less than 20 minutes.

Alex Trlica's 52-yard field goal as regulation expired sent the game into overtime.

Tech's comeback began with 4:58 to go in the third quarter, when Graham Harrell hit Joel Filani for a 43-yard score to cut the lead to 38-14. That touchdown started an avalanche that helped beat Minnesota.

Trailing 38-35 with no timeouts, the Red Raiders took over at their own 11 with 1:06 remaining. Eight plays later, Trlica tied it.

Harrell threw for 445 yards and two touchdowns. Woods rushed for 109 yards and three touchdowns and Filani caught nine passes for 144 yards.

For Minnesota, Amir Pinnix ran for 179 yards, Bryan Cupito threw for 263 yards and three touchdowns and Jack Simmons caught seven passes for 134 yards.

Minnesota set a school bowl scoring record, and Cupito, a senior, tied Asad Abdul-Khaliq's career record of 55 touchdown passes.

The Golden Gophers jumped ahead 7-0 after Texas Tech coach Mike Leach went for it on fourth-and-1 at his own 45. Harrell was stopped on a sneak, and six plays later Cupito found tight end Jack Simmons for a 2-yard touchdown with 9:27 to go in the first quarter.

Four minutes later, Minnesota made it 14-0 after linebacker Mike Sherels intercepted Harrell at Tech's 37. Pinnix capped a six-play drive with a 2-yard run.

Another Harrell turnover killed a Tech scoring drive. He fumbled on a sack by Willie VanDeSteeg, and Steve Davis recovered at the Golden Gophers' 13. Minnesota marched 87 yards -- its longest scoring drive of the year -- to take a 21-0 lead on Justin Valentine's 1-yard plunge on the first play of the second quarter.

Tech had a chance to slice the deficit when cornerback Antonio Huffman picked off Cupito's pass at the Minnesota 20. But Pinnix jarred the ball loose, and it bounded into the end zone, where the Gophers recovered for a touchback.

After Tech's Shannon Woods scored from 1 yard out to make it 28-7, the Gophers answered with an 81-yard drive that ended in a 3-yard touchdown pass from Cupito to Logan Payne in the final minute of the first half.

Minnesota looked as if it ended any Tech hopes for a comeback by opening the third quarter with a 16-play, 78-yard drive that consumed 7:13. Joel Monroe's 20-yard field goal gave the Gophers a 38-7 lead.

Minnesota vs. Texas Tech
Dec. 29, 2006
Attendance: 48,391

Minnesota Series/Specialty Notes
• Today’s game marked the first meeting between Minnesota and Texas Tech.
• This was then Gophers’ fifth consecutive bowl appearance.

Minnesota Team Notes
• The Gopher defense recorded its seventh straight game forcing multiple turnovers and its ninth multi-turnover game of the season.
• Minnesota scored touchdowns on each of their first three possessions.
• The Gophers’ 87-yard TD drive in the first half was the Gophers’ longest scoring drive of the season and their eighth scoring drive of at least 80 or more yards.
• Minnesota extended its NCAA leading streak of consecutive seasons with at least 2,000 yards rushing and 2,000 yards passing to eight straight (1999-2006).
• Minnesota set a school record for points scored in a bowl game, surpassing its previous high of 31 points set in the 2005 Music City Bowl and the 2003 Sun Bowl.
• This is the second time in the last four games that the Gophers have had 35 points at the half. Minnesota also led Indiana 35-7 at halftime of their game on Nov. 4. It is the third time the Gophers have had at least 35 points in a half this season.
• Minnesota scored a touchdown on its first possession of the game for the eighth time this season.
• Minnesota now has had at least one rushing touchdown in 50 of their past 54 games.

Minnesota Individual Notes
• Bryan Cupito set the single-season passing touchdown record at 22, surpassing Mike Hohensee’s 20 in 1981.
• Cupito became the school’s all-time single-season passing yardage leader, surpassing Cory Sauter’s 1995 record of 2,600 passing yards.
• Cupito became only the second player in school history to surpass 500 career completions joining Cory Sauter (539).
• Cupito tied Asad Abdul-Khaliq (2000-03) for the school record in career passing TDs with 55.
• Mike Sherels recorded his third interception of the season and his third in the last four games. It was the fourth of his career.
• Cupito has thrown for at least three TDs for the third time this season, fifth time in his career and for his second consecutive bowl game. Cupito had four TD passes last season against Virginia in the 2005 Music City Bowl.
• With his three TD passes, Cupito has thrown for multiple touchdowns eight times this season and 18 times during his career.
• With his 10th sack of the season, Willie VanDeSteeg became the first player to record at least 10 sacks in a season since Karon Riley had 13 in 2000.
• Jack Simmons had a career high in receptions and receiving yards, surpassing 100 yards receiving for the first time in his career. Simmons also scored his first career touchdown.
• Justin Valentine tied his personal career high for rushing touchdowns in a season with his fourth of 2006.
• Amir Pinnix recorded his third straight 100-yard rushing game, his fifth this season and the sixth of his career.
• Pinnix moved into 14th place all-time in career rushing yardage.
• Ernie Wheelwright had a TD reception in his fourth straight game and his fifth TD in the last four games.
• Wheelwright moved into a tie with Tutu Atwell (1994-97) for second place in career TD receptions with 17.
• Logan Payne had his 12th consecutive multiple-reception game.






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