Texas Tech Pulls Off Miracle
by Mike Mitchell
Texas Tech rallied from a 31-point second-half deficit midway through the third quarter to stun Minnesota 44-41 in overtime at the Insight Bowl.
Alex Trlica's 52-yard field goal as time expired in regulation completed the Red Raiders' improbable comeback. In overtime, Minnesota had to settle for a field goal and a 41-38 lead. But Texas Tech scored the game-winner on Shannon Wood's 3-yard run.
The 31-point deficit is the largest margin any team has ever overcome in a 1-A bowl game. It broke the record set by Marshall in the 1991 GMAC Bowl when the Thundering Herd came back from a 38-8 halftime deficit to beat East Carolina in double overtime 64-61.
Early in the game, Texas Tech could do nothing right. Minnesota struck first after Mike Leach elected to go for the first down on 4th-and-1 at his own 45. The Golden Gophers stopped QB Graham Harrell's attempted sneak and then drove to a 7-0 lead. Harrell turnovers - an interception and a fumble - set up the next two Minnesota touchdowns. Before they knew it, the Red Raiders trailed 35-7 at the half.
The Golden Gophers extended their lead to 38-7 on a field goal mid-way through the third quarter.
It wasn't until the 4:58 mark of the 3rd quarter that Texas Tech began cutting into the lead and the Red Raiders still trailed by 17 before Harrell scored from a yard out with only 7:49 left in the game.
Texas Tech pulled to within 3 points on Shannon Wood's 1-yard touchdown with 2:39 left. The Red Raiders then forced Minnesota to punt and began the game-tying drive on their own 11-yard line with just 1:06 remaining and no time outs.
It was the second straight year that Minnesota blew a lead in a bowl game. Last year, the Golden Gophers led Virginia 21-7 in the first half and 21-10 at halftime of the Music City Bowl. Virginia rallied for a 34-31 win.
In 2000, Minnesota had a 24-0 lead over N.C. State in the MicronPC.com Bowl but lost 38-30.