Big 12: East Carolina Pirates
In between all of the signing announcements and the analysis throughout the day, how about some stories from across the Big 12 to keep you occupied throughout your lunch hour and before the news conferences later this afternoon?
- ESPN.com retells some memorable stories from previous National Signing Days, including how Missouri lost Mount San Jacinto Junior College recruit Mike Anderson to Utah.
- Ruffin McNeill has added former Texas Tech coaching staff members Brandon Jones, Clay McGuire and Dennis Simmons to his staff at East Carolina.
- The Topeka Capital-Journal’s Tully Corcoran relates how Turner Gill recruited Keeston Terry and Brandon Bourbon out of the state of Missouri. And the St. Louis Globe-Democrat’s Alvin Reed wonders why Brandon Bourbon turned down Stanford to attend Kansas.
- Defensive backs Lavaughn Whigham and Phillip Warren from Miami Southridge High School, appear ready to commit to Texas Tech, the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal’s Don Williams reports.
- The Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Wiilliam Wilkerson details the story lines of the final day of recruiting.
- Dallas-Fort Worth-area receivers Mike Davis, John Harris, Darius Terrell and Darius White are determined for success once they hit college at Texas, Mark Dent of the Dallas Morning News reports.
- New Kansas State recruits say that the stability fostered by Bill Snyder is a major reason for choosing the Wildcats, Austin Meek of the Topeka Capital-Journal reports.
- The Denver Post’s Tom Kensler talks with Colorado quarterback recruit Nick Hirschman about arriving early at college and his tutorial work with quarterback guru Bob Johnson. And Hirschman tells the San Jose Mercury-News’ Dennis Knight that he's arrived at Colorado intent on contending for early playing time with the Buffaloes.
- The Lincoln Journal Star breaks down Nebraska’s recruiting class commitments.
- The Boulder Camera’s Kyle Ringo reports that Colorado will learn Wednesday if it can seal a recruiting commitment from quarterback Munchie Legaux of New Orleans. Legaux gave the Buffaloes an early commitment last fall, but is still considering the Buffaloes and Cincinnati.
- Jon Solomon of the Birmingham News has some sobering information about recruiting success that might stop some of the excitement about the top classes that schools will announce today.
- The Dallas Morning News’ Laken Litman analyzes Case McCoy’s chances for playing time at Texas -- as he follows in the footsteps of his older brother, Colt.
- The Des Moines Register’s Randy Peterson reports that Iowa State will have its best recruiting class since 2002 with 26 commitments expected.
Here are some lunchtime links to nibble on before we get there.
- Steve Sipple of the Lincoln Journal Star relates how Bo Pelini insists on meeting the parents of each of his recruits.
- Zac Robinson tells the Sporting News’ Clifton Brown he’s getting more comfortable taking direct snaps from center at quarterback.
- Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville has added Robert Prunty, the head coach of Hargrave Military Academy, as a defensive assistant, Don Williams of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reports.
- The Sporting News’ Dave Curtis picks Ruffin McNeill as his man of the month – for leading Texas Tech to a Valero Alamo Bowl victory as interim coach and for being hired as East Carolina’s coach after being passed over by the Red Raiders.
- The Birmingham News’ Jon Solomon analyzes all of the conferences and their Pro Bowl picks. He thinks the Big 12 is a little thin along the offensive line and lacks a downfield receiving threat.
- The Heisman Pundit ranks Oklahoma second, Texas sixth and Nebraska 10th among schools providing an advantage in winning the Heisman.
- Barry Switzer tells some great old recruiting stories in a video interview with the Oklahoman’s Berry Tramel.
- The Lincoln Journal Star’s Brian Christopherson reports that Jamal Turner, a junior quarterback from Sam Houston High School in Arlington, Texas, has accepted a Nebraska scholarship offer for the Class of 2011.
- Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder was given the chance by the Tulsa World’s Bill Haisten to end speculation that he forced Mike Gundy to hire Dana Holgorsen as his offensive coordinator. Holder had no comment.
- Three-star prospect Dexter McDonald of Rockhurst, Mo., switched his commitment from Missouri to Kansas, the Kansas City Star reports.
- Bob Stoops and his family are protesting the development of 350 acres near their dream home that’s under construction in far northwest Norman, Andrew Knittle of the Norman Transcript reports.
- The Columbia Tribune’s Dave Matter analyzes Missouri’s receiving class of recruits, ranked as high as eighth nationally by one national service.
But here's an idea better than tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich for some warming noontime satisfaction.
Why, of course -- a piping hot selection of Big 12 lunchtime links for your edification.
- The Lawrence Journal-World’s Chuck Woodling pronounces Kansas’ idea of a Gridiron Club as a massive flop.
- The Sporting News’ Matt Hayes ranks East Carolina's hiring of former Texas Tech defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill as the best made by a non-BCS school this season.
- It might be January, but football talk dominated the weekly chat by Austin American-Statesman pundits Kirk Bohls and Cedric Golden.
- ESPN.com’s Ivan Maisel likes the idea of the Hornung Trophy, believing it can honor all-around players who dominated their games like former Missouri player Jeremy Maclin.
- Rising Lakewood (Colo.) linebacker Joe Hemschoot will choose today between Colorado, Oregon and Stanford, Kyle Ringo of the Boulder Camera reports.
- The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reports that documents filed by Texas Tech’s attorneys with the state attorney general’s office indicate that Craig James threatened to sue the school if it didn’t investigate his claims that Mike Leach mistreated an injured student-athlete.
- Oklahoma State cornerback Perrish Cox is listed among five rising players at the Senior Bowl by the Sporting News’ Clifton Brown.
- Running back Lucky Hadley of Taft High School in Woodland Hills, Calif., will visit Texas Tech this weekend, Gerry Gittelson of the Los Angeles Daily News reports. Hadley’s other finalists include Clemson, North Carolina and Utah.
- The Lincoln Journal Star's Brian Christopherson writes about some of Nebraska's most notable recruiting losses over the last several years.
- Turner Gill’s $2 million yearly contract makes him the fifth highest-paid coach in the Big 12, according to J. Brady McCollough of the Kansas City Star.
- UTEP athletic director Rob Stull told Zahira Torres of the El Paso Times that the Miners will pocket $1 million for their 2012 game against Texas in Austin.
- John Mackovic of the Palm Springs (Calif.) Desert Sun writes about the nervousness for coaches associated with national signing day.
My doctor tells me that these nuggets are better than orange juice or hot chicken soup to keep away the common cold.
So here's to your health by reading these.
- The Omaha World-Herald’s Tom Shatel reports that Texas turned down the opportunity for a Thursday night game at Nebraska on Oct. 14 that would have been nationally televised by ESPN.
- Texas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are Matt Hayes’ top four teams in his final installment of his weekly Big 12 rankings.
- Top Nebraska recruit Corey Cooper tells the Lincoln Journal Star’s Brian Christopherson that he will decide on signing day among scholarship offers from the Cornhuskers, Notre Dame, Arizona and Illinois.
- Baylor added strength in the trenches with the addition of recruits Dominque Jones from Midwest City, Okla., and Beau Yap from Honolulu, the Waco Tribune-Herald’s John Werner reports.
- The Boulder Daily Camera’s Neill Woelk opines that the proposed $50 million infusion from boosters could change the face of Colorado’s athletic department.
- Texas A&M defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter tells the San Antonio Express-News’ Brent Zwerneman that his family is excited about moving to College Station for his new job.
- Bob Stoops was torn in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game by the number of his former players playing for both teams, the Tulsa World’s David Sittler reports.
- Former Texas Tech and Memphis assistant Brian Mitchell has joined Ruffin McNeill’s staff at East Carolina, the Greenville (N.C.) Daily Reflector reports.
- Denton (Texas) quarterback and Texas Tech recruit Scotty Young headlines the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal’s “Fabulous 44” team of top recruits.
- CollegeFootballNews.com analyzes why Colorado’s recruiting efforts appear to be stuck in neutral.
- Former Texas Tech quarterback and broadcaster Sonny Cumbie has been promoted from a graduate assistant to a full-time position as inside receivers coach on coach Tommy Tuberville's staff, the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reports.
- The Oklahoman’s Brandon Chatmon analyzes Oklahoma State’s incoming recruiting class.
Look on the bright side. It means a healthy dose of Big 12 lunch links to help you get through the drag of the first day of the work week.
Here's what I've got.
- The Kansas City Star’s Blair Kerkhoff does a nice job of tying up all the details about Missouri's possible move into the Big Ten Conference.
- Todd Reesing and Reggie Stephens didn’t help themselves with their performances at the East-West Shrine Game, the Sporting News’ Russ Lande reports. Lande also notes that Danario Alexander will be in the crosshairs for NFL scouts during practices this week at the Senior Bowl.
- The Austin American-Statesman’s Kirk Bohls is surprised that Texas Tech agreed to such a small contract buyout for Tommy Tuberville, among his delightful “nine things and one crazy prediction” for this week.
- Five incoming freshmen have joined Oklahoma’s team with a goal of immediately joining the Sooners’ playing rotation, the Tulsa World’s John Hoover reports.
- The Denver Post’s Woody Paige writes about a booster-initiated plan to raise $50 million for the Colorado football program.
- Colorado’s early struggles in attracting top recruits are detailed by the Denver Post’s Natalie Meisler.
- The Columbia Daily Tribune’s Dave Matter analyzes staff changes across the Big 12 North.
- Nebraska’s strength and conditioning program with James Dobson in charge is analyzed by the Omaha World-Herald’s Rich Kaipust.
- Tim DeRuyter tells the Bryan Eagle’s Richard Croome that he’s confident in his ability to turn around Texas A&M’s defense.
- Sam McKewon of the Nebraska State Paper.com opines that Bo Pelini has to do a better job of recruiting Nebraska's border states.
- Boise State athletic director Gene Bleymaier tells Brian Murphy of the Idaho Statesman that the Broncos’ proposed game with Nebraska for 2011 is off, although he is open to playing the Cornhuskers in the future.
- Denny O’Brien of Bonesville.net expects Ruffin McNeill to be a hit at East Carolina.
Before we head into the weekend, here are some stories that people are talking about across the Big 12.
For your edification, here they are.
- Kansas officials say that have attracted about $4.5 million of the $34 million needed to build the school’s new Gridiron Club at Memorial Stadium, the Lawrence Journal-World’s Mark Fagan reports.
- Former Kansas State quarterback Grant Gregory details the various maladies he overcame during his senior season to FanHouse.com’s Brett McMurphy.
- An open records act requested by Lubbock television station KCBD indicates there were no written complaints received about Mike Leach’s treatment of players during his coaching tenure at Texas Tech.
- Former Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell and former offensive lineman Brandon Jones have joined Mike Gundy’s coaching staff at Oklahoma State in quality control positions, the Oklahoman’s Brandon Chatmon reports.
- Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that former Texas Tech assistant coach and one-game offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley is headed to East Carolina to become offensive coordinator on Ruffin McNeill’s new staff there.
- Nebraska defensive end commit Walker Ashburn will be watching Sunday’s NFC Championship Game with some special interest, the Lincoln Journal Star’s Brian Christopherson reports. Ashburn’s father is the facilities manager for the New Orleans Saints.
- The Omaha World Herald’s Tom Shatel details the first of many battles between Bo Pelini and Turner Gill.
- New Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen tells the Tulsa World’s Bill Haisten he’ll be calling plays for the Cowboys in 2010. And the Oklahoman’s Berry Tramel notes how much Holgorsen sounds like his old boss, Mike Leach.
- Colorado offensive lineman Gus Handler and quarterback Clark Evans are facing disciplinary action from Coach Dan Hawkins after both were ticketed by campus police in two unrelated incidents, Kyle Ringo of the Boulder Daily Camera reports.
- Three Big 12 teams dot the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Mark Bradley’s top 25 – Texas at No. 7, Nebraska at No. 9 and Oklahoma at No. 17.
- The Austin American-Statesman’s Danny Davis details how Round Rock (Texas) safety Desmond Martin remains committed to Texas Tech after the coaching change to Tommy Tuberville.
- Bryan Eagle columnist Robert Cessna writes that new Texas A&M defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter doubled his salary with his new job, but quadrupled the expectations associated with it.
When you figure roughly 500 words per post -- give or take a few extra during the season -- that's more than 2 million words that have been churned out about the Big 12.
I feel like we should celebrate -- with a few lunch links.
So how about these?
- Texas and Texas A&M will be among 60 universities audited by the Internal Revenue Service as it focuses on executive compensation practices and income unrelated to the university’s educational mission, the Austin American Statesman’s Ralph K.M. Haurwitz reports. Something tells me that Mack Brown's and Mike Sherman’s whopping salaries could receive some close scrutiny.
- Ruffin McNeill and Kevin Wilson have emerged among the favorites as potential head coaches at East Carolina University, Nathan Summers of the Greenville (N.C.) Daily Reflector reports.
- The Lincoln Journal-Star’s Steve Sipple writes that Bo Pelini's equity building in the Nebraska program is a contrast to many other coaches across the country.
- Anthony Gimino of the Tucson Citizen reports that Arizona coach Mike Stoops could be targeting Josh Heupel as his new offensive coordinator after Sonny Dykes’ departure for the Louisiana Tech head coaching job.
- Former Colorado tight end and assistant coach Jon Embree has joined Mike Shanahan’s staff with the Washington Redskins, the Boulder Camera’s Kyle Ringo reports.
- The Bryan Eagle reports that the hiring of Tim DeRuyter is expected to be approved by the Texas A&M Board of Regents during their meeting on Thursday.
- Joe Pawelek has shown strong physical work but has struggled changing directions in early East-West Shrine game practices, according to the Sporting News’ Russ Lande.
- New Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen says that Mike Gundy hired him because he wants to do a better job of managing the game, the Oklahoman’s Brandon Chatmon reports.
- The Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Ken Youngblood reports that Oklahoma State offensive assistant Gunter Brewer is on Tim Brewster’s short list for the vacant offensive coordinator position at Minnesota.
- The Big Red Network’s Steve Hanway wonders why Tommy Tuberville chose to employ a 3-4 defense at Texas Tech.
- SI.com’s Stewart Mandel gives the hiring of Turner Gill an A and Tuberville a B in his report card of coaching hires.
- The recent departure of top prospects like Geneo Grissom and Blake Bell signal a talent drain of top players leaving the state of Kansas, the Hutchinson News' Pat Sangimino opines.
My doctor tells me that consuming these links every day will help prevent colds.
Call it my version of chicken soup for the Big 12 fan's soul.
- Donald Trump hasn’t forgotten about his old friend Mike Leach, KCBD-TV in Lubbock reports.
- Not a good day for Kansas players working out at the East-West Shrine practices. Todd Reesing was measured at only 5-foot-10 and Kerry Meier lacked burst coming out of his cuts, Russ Lande of The Sporting News reports.
- The Lincoln Journal-Star’s Steve Sipple and Brian Christopherson provide a video update on Nebraska’s late recruiting prospects.
- Former Baylor coach and current Clemson defensive coordinator Kevin Steele has decided to stay at his job rather than accept the job as the new defensive coordinator on Derek Dooley’s staff at Tennessee, Ed McGranahan of the Greenville News reports.
- Denton Ryan (Texas) quarterback Scotty Young tells the Denton Record-Chronicle’s Adam Boedeker that he’s solid with his commitment to Texas Tech, even after the coaching change to Tommy Tuberville.
- The Daily Kansan’s Nicolas Roesler writes about where Mark Mangino’s staff has landed after it was let go by Turner Gill in the Jayhawks’ coaching change.
- Among the coaches still in the mix for East Carolina’s vacant head coaching job include Leach, former Texas Tech defensive coordinator and ECU alum Ruffin McNeill and Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, Nathan Summers of the Greenville (N.C.) Daily Reflector.
- Air Force defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter is in line to be hired as Texas A&M’s new defensive coordinator later this week, Jake Schaller of the Colorado Springs Gazette reports.
- Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Bill Young and new offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen both will be paid $360,000 next season, Bill Haisten of the Tulsa World reports.
- The Oklahoman’s Berry Tramel opines that Mike Gundy showed some maturity when he ended his work as the Cowboys' offensive coordinator and hired Dana Holgorsen to replace him.
- Paul Rhoads was listed No. 4 and Bill Snyder was ninth in Richard Cirminiello of College Football News’ ranking of 2009’s first-year head coaches.
Hance told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal that he'd like to see the former Texas Tech defensive coordinator working at the school if he doesn't choose to continue his coaching career elsewhere.
McNeill, the Red Raiders' interim coach after Mike Leach was fired, was himself let go earlier this week when new Tech coach Tommy Tuberville set his staff.
Hance said that McNeill could be in the mix for a variety of jobs at the school.
"We’d make him an assistant athletic director to help us with development in charge of certain areas,” Hance told the Avalanche-Journal. “And if he didn’t want to do that, I’d put him in my office in development. There’s not a greater ambassador.”
McNeill, 51, remains in coaching limbo after the move earlier this week by Tuberville. He is expected to have other coaching offers, perhaps at his alma mater, East Carolina.
Hance has not talked to McNeill but did leave him a voice message of his offers.
Hance said he left McNeill a voicemail early in the week, apprising him of the informal offer.
“I just wanted him to realize he’s got a lot of options with us,” Hance said. “He’s got a lot of friends. He’s a class guy. It wasn’t an easy decision, but he is going to be well taken care of either way, whether he stays or if he goes.”
McNeill responded to Hance's offer on Wednesday.
“I got a nice text message back from him, thanking me,” Hance said. “He said he’d get together with me. We’d talk.”
Despite the offer, I would be very surprised to see McNeill go into an administrative role.
He's coming off one of his finest seasons as a coordinator. And he's also got the national notoriety after piloting the Red Raiders' through the difficult situation after Leach's firing to a victory in the Valero Alamo Bowl.
Look for McNeill to return somewhere as a coach next season.
But there are still some stories across the conference that are percolating.
- Alabama associate coach James Willis is expected to accept the vacant defensive coordinator position at Texas Tech, according to Chase Goodbread and Tommy Deas of the Tuscaloosa News.
- The San Antonio Express-News’ Brent Zwerneman reports that Boise State defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox met with Mike Sherman about a similar position at Texas A&M and that A&M All-American Von Miller still is mulling whether to declare for the NFL draft.
- My ESPN.com colleague Chris Low reports that Will Muschamp and Mike Gundy are among those in play for the vacant Tennessee head coaching job. And the Birmingham News’ Kevin Scarbinsky wonders if Tennessee officials are willing to make Muschamp an offer he can’t refuse.
- The Oklahoman’s Berry Tramel writes about other one-and-done college coaches, including Howard Schnellenberger at Oklahoma and David McWilliams at Texas Tech.
- Doug Lederman of Inside High Education writes about how the incidents involving the ouster of Mike Leach and Mark Mangino signal a change where coaches are confusing discipline and abuse.
- Kicker Justin Castor of Arvada, Colo., has backed out of his commitment to Kansas, the Lawrence Journal-World reports. Castor is still considering Colorado and Arizona State.
- East Carolina’s Skip Holtz appears to be the top name for the vacant South Florida job, although former Iowa State coach and current Florida defensive line coach Dan McCarney also is being mentioned, according to the St. Petersburg Times’ Greg Auman.
- New Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville tells USA Today’s Thomas O’Toole that he hopes his players will be “resilient” in the culture change with him taking over the program.
- The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal’s Matthew McGowan and Adam Zuvanich report about the latest legal briefs filed by Mike Leach’s attorneys that claim his firing was based on factors beyond his coaching and alleged mistreatment of an injured player.
- Jimmy Burch of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram provides an early look at next season’s Big 12 race.
- The pundits at CollegeFootballNews.com weigh in on the hiring of Tommy Tuberville by Texas Tech.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Texas Tech defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill has been tangling with Mike Leach's spread offense in practice since his arrival in Lubbock with Leach's original staff before the 2000 season.
McNeill says the challenge of competing against the Red Raiders' potent offensive attack makes his defense more acclimated to the travails it faces in the Big 12, where spread offenses have become predominant.
Here are some of McNeill's thoughts on the challenges he faces on a daily basis from trying to stop Leach's offense.
Do you feel like your defense is better able to defend some of the Big 12's spreads because of what you face in your daily team practices against Texas Tech's offense?
Ruffin McNeill: There's still a different part of each team's offense you have to prepare for each week that you can do only by working specifically for them. Each team has its own identity and something you have to get ready for. So there's still some aspects and concepts that another team prefers that you try to make not sound. But as far as the scheme, we do get tested daily.
When you arrived in Lubbock in 2000, Leach was the only coach in the conference running the spread. Now, seven of the teams run the offense as a base set. Did you ever expect it to be this widespread?
RM: I've definitely seen things evolve. The yards per game and points all have increased. I think it's because we've seen a development in the training of quarterbacks and offensive players through seven-on-seven camps and the like -- particularly here in Texas. Now, everybody is trying to get their wide receivers and running backs into space. And we're trying to do what we can to stop them.
Because of the way scoring has mushroomed in the Big 12, are you changing the way you judge the success of your defense?
RM: You've seen things evolve. Obviously, yards per game and points have increased. It's not 3 yards and a cloud of dust like it was when I was playing. We all realize these quarterbacks are pretty good and these offenses can move the ball. What we have to do is be patient and innovative with how we try to counteract their schemes. Points will increase, but maybe now we need to look at stats like third-down conversions and turnovers to determine how effective a defense has really been.
How much of a philosophical change has it been after the mushrooming of these spread offenses since you started your coaching career?
RM: When I started back at East Carolina with Pat Dye, I grew up facing the wishbone all spring and all fall. That was the offense that everybody was using and that caused problems. You saw more of a power game. Then, you saw people start using the West Coast offense to try to throw the football.
I miss those days, but I know the spread defense is here to stay for a while because of the development of the athletes to fit those offenses. I know everybody in our state [high school players] is out throwing the football, so the passing quarterback is out there. The receivers are out there, too. The guys that used to play basketball are all becoming wide receivers. I think the spread will be here for a while, so both sides will have to keep developing.
How has the proliferation of spread offenses changed how you try to stock your defense with personnel?
RM: The biggest thing now you have to have is enough depth and be able to have the personnel to have different packages that you can fall back on to help you.
In the old days, you could play three or four defensive linemen at a position and maybe get by with it. But with the spread, those days are over with. You have a different system in place. You might have some players you like to play in run downs and others who are in for passing situations. You have got to have depth in your defensive backs and a different skills set among the players among that group. With the offenses evolving, depth in your personnel is especially important.
How much have you changed your recruiting philosophies to try to get specific players to fill those needs?
RM: Up front, all of your defensive linemen have to be able to pass rush more because of all of the reps they are facing. The linebackers now have to be more open-space types who can cover receivers. And the defensive backs, because of all of the seven-on-seven training they are getting, their man techniques and their understanding of combating a pass offense have got to improve. You've seen changes in all that as well.
You have to search for those kinds of players. You can practice and work on stopping the spread, but it still comes down to one-on-one effort on defense. Even with all of the spreads we see, there will be times when it comes down to one-on-one play that has to be made. And on defense, you just have to find those kids that can make those plays. It's basic and simple and part of whatever defense you have.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
It's never over for Texas Tech until it's over
|Graham Harrell completed 36 of 55 passes for 445 yards and two touchdowns.|
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.
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."
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Statistics compiled by the NCAA indicated the Big 12 is coming off a record season in attendance as well as the largest growth of any BCS-affiliated conference.
The Big 12 attracted an average of 62,956 fans per game last season -- one of only five FBS conferences to show growth last season. A struggling economy helped explain why only the SEC and Big 12 showed attendance growth during 2008 for home games.
Here's a look at how the Big 12 ranked with the other FBS conferences
A more telling examination can be found how individual schools rank in attendance. The Big 12 had one school ranked among the top 10 schools in home attendace, four in the top 14 and five among the top 26 schools.
Here's a list of each Big 12's average attendance and where it ranks among FBS schools, and also among the 65 schools in BCS-affiliated conferences.
It's interesting to note that all Big 12 schools played to 90 percent home capacity with the exception of Baylor, which played to less than 70 percent capacity at Floyd Casey Stadium.
And for you trivia connoisseurs out there, the four teams that ranked in front of Texas were Big Ten powers Michigan, Penn State and Ohio State and Tennessee from the SEC.
The 10 non-BCS affiliated schools that ranked higher than Baylor in average attendance were Notre Dame (16th), BYU (27th), Utah (51st), East Carolina (56th), Hawaii (58th), Navy (59th), UCF (61st), Air Force (64th), Fresno State (65th) and UTEP (66st).
And the seven BCS-affiliated schools that ranked lower in Baylor than average attendance last season were Syracuse (69th), Cincinnati (71st), Indiana (72nd), Wake Forest (73rd), Washington State (74th), Duke (78th) and Northwestern (79th).
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
The ability to sit in the studio gave me the opportunity to watch a lot more football than I usually do when I'm sitting in a stadium watching a game. Heck, even more than when I'm at home and it seems like I forever have some household chore to do.
So being in Bristol gave me a chance to really watch football. Here are some things I noticed today.
1. Is anybody else surprised that East Carolina struggled before barely escaping New Orleans with a narrow victory over Tulane? How many times have we seen the BCS-buster du jour come up flat after a couple of wins against the big boys? And the Pirates better prepare for it every week as Conference USA play continues.
2. Who needs View-Masters to hype Missouri QB Chase Daniel for the Heisman? After three games, how about 10 touchdowns and one interception. His quarterback efficiency rating has been more than 250 in each of the last two weeks.
3. Injuries for coaches are a miserable time. But doesn't Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis look especially glum after he was leg-whipped by John Ryan along the sidelines late in the first half?
4. Seeing Dennis Quaid be such a prominent part of the Syracuse game-day experience today was somehow fitting as the Orange struggled through another disappointing loss. Remember, Quaid used to be "The Grey Ghost." And Syracuse used to be a place where running backs flocked.
5. Best story of the day was the emergence of Florida State WR Corey Surrency, who never played high school football. Surrency made his start playing in flag-football tournaments before going to El Camino Community College. He's simply emerged as Christian Ponder's go-to receiver.
6. Wonder how much moving Houston's game against Air Force to Dallas hurt the Cougars? Air Force jumped to a 31-7 lead before Houston stormed back to pull within 31-28 late. The Cougars have piled up 749 passing yards and 1,017 yards in their last two games. All they have to show for the offensive explosion are two losses.
7. Worst weekend this year goes to the Pac-10 for enduring humiliating losses (Baylor over Washington State, Maryland over California, TCU over Stanford, BYU over UCLA and Oregon's struggles with Purdue). But just like they've said over the last few years, thank goodness for USC.
8. Best finish of the day came at UB Stadium in Buffalo, where the Bulls eked out a narrow 30-28 victory over Temple thanks to a 35-yard pass from Drew Willy to Naaman Roosevelt with no time left. If I'm an athletic director at a struggling BCS school, I'm thinking about giving Buffalo coach Turner Gill a chance.
9. Seeing Michigan State RB Javon Ringer pick up a career-high 43 carries en route to 282 yards brings back memories of when Lorenzo White was toting the rock that much for the Spartans.
10. Sure, Northwestern has only beaten Syracuse, Duke and Southern Illinois this season. But coach Pat Fitzgerald's team has quietly fashioned a 3-0 record and is halfway to bowl eligibility.