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2009-2010
College Football Season
Alamo Bowl
Post-Game

Texas Tech Texas Tech (9-4) 41
Michigan State Michigan State (6-7) 31
 

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2009 Bowl Recaps
| Alamo | Armed Forces | BCS Championship | Capital One | Champs Sports | Chick-fil-A | Cotton | EagleBank | Emerald | Fiesta | GMAC |
| Gator | Hawai'i | Holiday | Humanitarian | Independence | Insight | International | Las Vegas | Liberty | Little Caesars | Meineke Car Care |
| Music City | New Mexico | New Orleans | Orange | Outback | PapaJohns.com | Poinsettia | Rose | St. Petersburg | Sugar | Sun | Texas |

Interim Coach's Gutsy Calls Guide Texas Tech Comeback

by Dave Congrove
January 3, 2010

Ruffin McNeill is 1-0 as Texas Tech's head coach, but he was 3-0 on crucial 4th quarter calls in the Red Raiders' 41-31 Alamo Bowl victory over Michigan State.

Texas Tech interim head coach Ruffin McNeill.

Trailing 31-27, McNeill switched quarterbacks, replacing Taylor Potts with Steven Sheffield. Sheffield immediately drove the team 77 yards in 8 plays while completing all 6 pass attempts for 75 yards. A 12-yard strike to Detron Lewis put the Red Raiders back in front 34-31 with 5:03 left in the game.

Kirk Cousins was intercepted on the second play of Michigan State's next series, and Texas Tech took over at the Spartans' 35-yard line. With 4:20 left to play, the Red Raiders needed to run time off the clock. Two runs by Baron Batch only gained 5 yards and a 3rd-down pass to Alexander Torres was dropped. Coach McNeill was faced with 4th-and-5 at the MSU 30 with over 4 minutes still left on the clock. He opted to go for the first down and made it with the exact same play to the same receiver.

McNeill soon faced 4th-and-4 at the Spartans' 18-yard line with 3 minutes left. A field goal would have given his team a 6-point lead and forced the Spartans to drive for a game-winning touchdown, but McNeill again trusted his offense and prevailed with a 5-yard pass to Lewis. On the very next play, Batch broke a 13-yard run over the right side for a touchdown. Game. Set. Match.

McNeill was named interim coach after head coach Mike Leach was suspended on the Monday prior to the Saturday night game. By Wednesday, Leach had been fired. At issue was a story that Leach had allegedly instructed WR Adam James (son of ESPN analyst and former SMU running back Craig James) be confined to a dark room for lengthy periods on two separate occasions after James was diagnosed with a concussion. The school cited cause in terminating Leach's contract one day prior to owing an $800,000 bonus.

Leach refutes many specifics of the allegations.

Distractions also befell Michigan State leading up to the bowl game. A November 22 dormitory brawl 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 would 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).

Baker scored Michigan State's first touchdown on a 46-yard run; White finished with 114 yards and a TD on 6 catches; and Cousins threw for 220 yards and a touchdown.

A trick 8-yard pass play to White from WR Keyshawn Martin gave the Spartans their first lead of the game at 28-27 late in the 3rd quarter. After intercepting Potts on the next series, Michigan State extended the lead on Brett Swenson's 44-yard field goal.

That's when interim coach McNeill went to work with his series of gutsy calls.

Sheffield finished 9-of-11 for 88 yards. Potts was 29-of-43 for 372 yards, 2 TD's and 1 INT.

Texas Tech improved to 11-21-1 in bowl games and has won 6 of its last 8. The Red Raiders made 10 bowl trips in Leach's 10 seasons as head coach.

Michigan State fell to 7-13 in bowl games with its 4th straight postseason loss.






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