Minnesota vs. Texas Tech
Fri., Dec. 28 – 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
Houston – Reliant Stadium
There ain’t much momentum headed to Houston.
After a fortuitous start, Minnesota (6-6) has won only two games since Sept. 22. (If you correctly guessed that those victories came at the expense of Purdue and Illinois, you do not deserve a prize.)
Similarly, Texas Tech (7-5) opened 4-0 before starting to slide. The Red Raiders wrapped up the regular season by losing four of the their final five, which is actually worse than it sounds since that lone victory down the stretch was a 41-34 overtime affair at home against Kansas (1-11).
Just about the only thing that would make this matchup watchable is if history were guaranteed to repeat itself.
At the 2006 Insight Bowl, the Golden Gophers spectacularly squandered a 38-7 lead in a 44-41 overtime loss to the Red Raiders.
The prospect of the current Minnesota squad putting 38 points on the board is extremely remote. The punchless Gophers have scored more than 17 points only four times this season (against UNLV, New Hampshire, Western Michigan and Purdue).
Texas Tech, which will be led by interim coach/offensive line coach Chris Thomsen, has its own set of issues, but scoring isn’t one of them. The Red Raiders average 37.8 points per game, powered by the precise passing of Seth Doege.
Opening point spread: Texas Tech by 13
The pick: Texas Tech 37-19
Click HERE to get predictions for the remaining bowl games.
When Miami takes the field Thursday night against Virginia Tech, the Hurricanes will do so with a significantly depleted defense.
On The U’s official injury report, starting defensive end Chad Thomas is listed as questionable with an upper extremity injury. However, both Susan Miller Degnan of the Miami Herald and Matt Porter of the Palm Beach Post are reporting that Thomas did not travel to Blacksburg with the team and will not play in the prime-time game against the Hokies.
Thomas suffered the injury in last Saturday’s loss to North Carolina.
Additionally, fellow starting end Demetrius Jackson and starting cornerback Sheldrick Redwine have been ruled out as well. Jackson is nursing an injured knee, while Redwine was not listed on The U’s injury report and the reason for his absence — he didn’t make the trip, either — is unknown.
Thomas, who has started all six games this season, currently leads the ‘Canes in tackles for loss with eight, while Jackson is tied for second with 5.5. Jackson has started five of the six games.
Redwine has started the last five games for the Hurricanes, the first starts of his collegiate career.
Two UConn football players were arrested Wednesday evening following a traffic stop, multiple media outlets are reporting.
According to the Daily Campus, the school’s student newspaper, linebacker Nazir Williams and defensive lineman Felton Blackwell were both charged with one count each of weapons in a motor vehicle. The weapon, it turned out, was an unmarked, loaded BB gun “that initially appeared to be a real gun,” the paper wrote.
Williams, the driver of the vehicle, was also charged with possession of less than half an ounce of marijuana and possession of alcohol by a minor.
The traffic stop that led to the arrests was triggered by Williams’ vehicle having a headlight out. The incident report detailed that, in a search of the vehicle, four grams of marijuana, an open container of vodka and the BB gun were found.
Neither Williams nor Blackwell are listed on the two-deep depth chart released ahead of Saturday’s game against UCF. Both players took redshirts as true freshmen last season.
Tennessee’s not the only SEC East team dealing with an inordinate number of injuries.
As Florida continues prepping for its annual cocktail party with Georgia in Week 9, the Gainesville Sun notes that the Gators’ “defensive front seven could be missing as many as four starters.” Even as the rivalry game is still a little over a week away — UF’s on a bye this weekend — it appears somewhat unlikely that Jarrad Davis will be available.
The starting middle linebacker sustained a severely sprained ankle in the Week 7 win over Missouri, and is thought to be a longshot to play. Jim McElwain, however, hasn’t shut the door.
“Jarrad Davis obviously hurt that ankle real good,” the head coach said. “But, if there is a guy I would bet, or know, that he’s going to do everything he can to get back. Obviously, he’s not practicing this week, but he’s been doing a great job rehab-wise. We’ll see where that is.
“I don’t know (if there’s a chance he could play next week). That’s him. That’s the medical staff. It’s making sure it’s right. If they’re mentally right to go, he’ll go.”
Three other front seven starters’ statuses are up in the air thanks to injuries. From the Sun:
The status of three other starters on the defensive front — ends Bryan Cox Jr. (thumb) and Jordan Sherit (knee) and tackle Joey Ivie (thumb) — also is uncertain for Georgia.
Sherit had his knee scoped two weeks ago. Ivie’s thumb remains in a cast after undergoing surgery three weeks ago. Cox injured his thumb during warmups for the Missouri game when his hand got caught in the jersey of a teammate during a drill.
Cox, per McElwain, could be lost for the season. The paper did note that “[t]news appears a little more positive on Sherit and Ivie.” Those two have practiced on a limited basis and their statuses will be reevaluated next week.
Davis currently leads the Gators in tackles with 48 and is tied for second on the team with 3.5 tackles for loss. Sherit is one of the players with which Davis is tied in tackles for loss.
A key piece of Texas Tech’s 2015 recruiting class has decided to call it a day in Lubbock.
On his personal Twitter account Wednesday afternoon, Corey Dauphine (pictured, No. 21) has decided to transfer from Tech to an undetermined school. The running back, who said his decision to transfer came “after talking with my family,” did not provide a reason for the departure.
A four-star 2015 recruit, Dauphine was rated as the No. 18 running back in the country and the No. 31 player at any position in the state of Texas. He was the highest-rated Red Raider recruit on the offensive side of the ball.
Dauphine chose Tech over offers from, among others, Baylor, Florida, Michigan, TCU, Tennessee and Texas A&M.
After taking a redshirt as a true freshman, Dauphine had two carries for 25 yards and a touchdown this season. he appeared in a total of three games.