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Insight Bowl Preview

December 29, 2006

College Football - Minnesota vs. Texas Tech (-7, 64) 8:00 PM EST

The Insight Bowl has complications in that the contest could be a blowout in either direction. This match-up is a study in contrast of offenses and coaching personalities. Minnesota runs the ball effectively and sets up its play-action passing game. Any college football fan knows what Texas Tech is going to do, throw until the cows come home. The Golden Gophers' Glen Mason is a Mid-western type guy with a gleam in his eye, who loves to run the football. Mike Leach has the "aw shucks" look about him, with as creative a mind their is in college football when it comes to the passing game.

Minnesota runs the ball exceptionally well behind junior Amir Pinnix (1,093 yards, nine touchdowns) and sophomore Alex Daniels (309, 5), a converted defensive end. The Golden Gophers have also received solid play down the stretch from senior quarterback Bryan Cupito, who finished up with 2,556 yards and 19 touchdowns against eight interceptions. Senior Logan Payne (56 grabs, 786 yards, eight touchdowns) is Cupito's favorite target, but immense tight end and John Mackey award winner Matt Spaeth finally had to succumb to should surgery and his 47 catches this season will be missed.

Texas Tech will bomb away on a Minnesota pass defense that finished 115th in the country behind sophomore sensation Graham Harrell, who completed 67 percent of his passes for 4,110 yards and 36 touchdowns. Harrell, who was intercepted only 10 times, can take advantage of a deep receiving corps that features senior wideouts Joel Filani and Robert Johnson, who each caught 80 passes, combining for 22 touchdowns. Sophomore running back Shannon Woods runs behind a tough and athletic offensive line and was a huge threat both rushing (817 yards, seven touchdowns) and receiving (72 catches).

In the bigger picture these are two pretty mediocre teams, with conference reputations more at stake then anything. During the Mike Leach era, when the Red Raiders lose, it normally is because the opponent's defense is better. This will not be the case in the Insight Bowl and is why Texas Tech is favored by 7.5 points at

Both teams were just 2-4 ATS on the road. The Red Raiders were 3-4 against the spread when favored. Minnesota was 1-4 ATS when in the role of an underdog, which mirrors the Golden Gophers record since the beginning of the decade at 5-16 ATS. Minnesota deserves credit to become bowl eligible, winning last three games, however they did it against Big Ten teams that closed the season 0-9.

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