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December 29, 2012

Texas Tech overcomes Gophers in Meineke Car Care Bowl

HOUSTON — D.J. Johnson 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 on Friday night in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

Seth 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.

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 Tech coach Spike Dykes.

Philip Nelson threw for 138 yards and two scores for the Gophers, who were in a bowl game for the first time since 2009.

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 the tight end Jace Amaro when he was ejected for throwing a punch.

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

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