Tech's wild 2006 bowl comeback ranks No. 20 on Big 12 list

June, 15, 2009
6/15/09
6:11
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

It's never over for Texas Tech until it's over

 
  Gene Lower/WireImage
  Graham Harrell completed 36 of 55 passes for 445 yards and two touchdowns.

No. 20

Date: Dec. 29, 2006
Place: Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Ariz.
Score: Texas Tech 44, Minnesota 41 (OT)

The 2006 Insight Bowl appeared to be an ordinary bowl game without much interest outside of the two teams playing. And after Minnesota jumped to a 38-7 lead over Texas Tech with 7:47 left in the third quarter, television sets were clicking off across America.

The game appeared over after Minnesota got a field goal on its opening drive of the second half. But Tech coach Mike Leach and quarterback Graham Harrell were only getting started.

The Red Raiders' comeback began with 4:58 left in the third quarter, when Harrell hit Phoenix-area native Joel Filani with a 43-yard touchdown pass that pulled Tech within 38-14.

That was all of the scoring until the fourth quarter, when the Red Raiders erupted for 21 unanswered points on a 8-yard touchdown pass from Harrell to Robert Johnson, a 1-yard Harrell touchdown sneak and a 1-yard plunge by Shannon Woods with 2:39 left that pulled Tech within three points after the conversion.

After another Tech defense stop, the Red Raiders had one more chance in regulation.

With no timeouts and 1:06 left, Tech marched 53 yards on eight plays, tying the game as time expired on a 52-yard career-best field goal by Alex Trlica.

Minnesota scored first in overtime on a 32-yard field goal by Joel Monroe.

Tech then claimed the victory -- the largest comeback in bowl history -- on a 3-yard touchdown run by Woods five plays later. The Red Raiders finished by scoring five touchdowns and a field goal on their final six offensive possessions. And Tech's defense set the stage by holding Minnesota scoreless on its final four possessions of regulation.

The previous record for a bowl comeback was 30 points, set by Marshall against East Carolina in the 2001 GMAC Bowl.

The numbers: Harrell went 36-for-55 for 445 passing yards and two touchdowns to win the game's MVP honors. Woods rushed for 109 yards and scored three touchdowns. Filani grabbed 11 passes for 162 yards.

They said it, part I: "We talked at halftime that we had a great opportunity to make history, and the reason people come to Texas Tech is to play all 60 minutes.''  -- Tech coach Mike Leach, who blinked away tears during a postgame interview after the wild comeback.

They said it, part II: "We're an offense that can score in a hurry, and everyone knows that. You never feel like you're going to run out of time with this offense." -- Tech quarterback Graham Harrell.

The upshot: Tech's bowl victory capped an 8-5 season for the Red Raiders, who finished with three victories in their final four games.

After starting the season 3-6, the Golden Gophers had won their final three regular-season games to finish at 6-6. Coach Glen Mason was fired two days later, despite taking the Gophers to five-straight bowl trips. The Gophers have gone 8-17 since then.

The countdown:

21. Reesing to Meier. Again and Again -- Kansas over Missouri 2008.
22. A Texas-sized comeback -- Texas over Oklahoma State in 2004.
23. A Border War unlike any of the rest -- Missouri over Kansas in 2007.
24. Seneca Wallace's wild TD run vs. Texas Tech in 2001.
25. Baylor's "So Much for Taking a Knee."

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