NOTE: Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach was fired Wednesday (December 30) after being put on indefinite suspension on Monday (December 28) for alleged mistreatment of an injured player, WR Adam James (son of ESPN analyst Craig James). Defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill will serve as interim coach.
This season's edition of the Alamo Bowl presents the first-ever matchup between Texas Tech and Michigan State, and both schools are looking to break their combined 0-3 hex in this game. Texas Tech is 0-2 here with losses to Iowa in 1996 and 2001. Michigan State lost its only previous Alamo Bowl appearance to Nebraska in 2003.
The Red Raiders have won 5 of their last 7 bowl games, but are coming off a 47-34 loss to Ole Miss in last year's Cotton Bowl. This will mark Texas Tech’s 33rd appearance in a bowl game, which ties for 17th nationally with Miami (Fla.) and Mississippi, and ranks fourth among Big 12 programs.
Texas Tech is making its 10th consecutive bowl appearance under head coach Mike Leach and is looking for its sixth bowl win in the Leach era. The Red Raiders have an overall bowl record of 10-21-1.
Michigan State has a 3-year bowl appearance streak for the first time since 1995-97, matching the second-longest such streak in school history. The Spartans made a school-record four straight postseason bowl appearances under George Perles in the late 1980s.
Michigan State is making its 20th postseason bowl appearance overall. The Spartans are 7-12 (.368) in bowl games and currently on a 3-bowl losing streak. Michigan State's last bowl victory came in the 2001 in the 2001 Silicon Valley Classic when it defeated Fresno State 44-35.
Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach is 82-45 in his 10th season at the school and overall.
Mark Dantonio owns a 22-16 record in his 3rd season at Michigan State. He is 40-32 in his 6th season overall.
Mike Leach's coaching trademark is a potent passing attack and this year is no different. The team is 2nd nationally in passing offense with Taylor Potts throwing for 3,068 yards and 20 TD's in 10 game appearances. Backup Steven Sheffield threw for 1,131 yards and 13 TD's. As a team, Texas Tech threw for 4,568 yards with 35 TD's and 16 INT's.
Potts' top targets are a pair of 700-yard receivers in Alexander Torres (65 rec., 791 yds., 6 TD's) and Detron Lewis (55 rec., 730 yds., 5 TD's).
Baron Batch is Texas Tech's leading rusher with 784 yards and 12 TD's on a 5.37 yard per carry average.
The Red Raider defense is led by LB Brian Duncan (79 tackles, 63 solo) and DL Brandon Sharp with 15 sacks.
Michigan State will be missing several key players for this game in the wake of a November 22 dormitory brawl that resulted in RB Glenn Winston (60 carries, 204 yards) and DB Roderick Jenrette (25 tackles) getting dismissed from the team.
Several others were suspended, including DB Chris L. Rucker (58 tackles, 7 pass breakups, 3 TFL's, 1 INT, 1 fumble return TD). The No. 2 and No. 3 receivers were also suspended, leaving the Spartans without B.J. Cunningham (48 catches, 641 yards, 4 TD's) and Mark Dell (26 catches, 449 yards, 1 TD).
For the bowl game, Michigan State will have to rely more heavily on leading receiver Blair White (64 catches, 876 yards, 8 TD's), freshman running backs Larry Caper (443 yards, 6 TD's) and Edwin Baker (330 yards), and QB Kirk Cousins (2,460 yards, 18 TD's, 7 INT's).
Greg Jones leads the defense with a ridiculous 141 tackles (62 solo) and 9 sacks.