BRR Big Ten Bowl Preview No. 1

Big Red Report's Kyle Phillippi breaks down the per-January Big Ten bowl games.

Meineke Car Car Bowl of Texas, Minnesota (6-6) vs. Texas Tech (7-5)

December 28, 2012

Losers of two in a row, the Golden Gophers' defense will be put to the test against a Red Raiders offense that averaged 37.8 points per game. Minnesota has scored 30 or more points just three times this season, whereas Texas Tech has seven games of 40 or more points.

Texas Tech senior quarterback Seth Doege is 66 yards shy of 4,000 passing yards and only needs two more touchdowns for 40 on the season. Minnesota's secondary will be matched against two receivers, Eric Ward and Darrin Moore, who have double-digit touchdowns and 75 or more receptions. Doege targets Moore the most, having completed 81 passes to the senior wideout and 13 scores. Altogether, the Red Raiders passing attack ranks second in the nation (361.92 yard per game) and 12th in total offense (501.42).

As cliché as it may sound, Minnesota must find a way to put points on the board. This could be hard for a team that shuffles through three quarterbacks throughout a given game. Between the three passers, the Golden Gophers rank 108th in the nation with 171.4 passing yards per game, which doesn't translate well when going against when one of the best aerial attacks in the nation. The best option Minnesota has is running back Donnell Kirkwood, who has compiled 849 yards – the highest total for a Golden Gopher lead back since 2006. If Minnesota can keep the chains moving via the run against a Texas Tech defense that has allowed 171.4 rushing yards per game, they will extend their drives and keep Doege and his arsenal of weapons of the field.

BRR Prediction: Texas Tech 45 – Minnesota 27

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Michigan State (6-6) vs. TCU (7-5)

December 29, 2012

The Spartans will try to salvage a disappointing year by knocking off an injury-ridden Horned Frogs team. TCU lost quarterback Casey Pachall and running back Waymon James for the season, leaving them a freshman under center in Trevone Boykin.

The 6-foot-2 redshirt freshman quarterback has thrown at least one interception in five of his last six games, but he has done enough to propel the Horned Frogs to another bowl appearance.

At times, specifically in their 20-13 win over Texas, he has found success with his legs, running for 77 yards on 10 carries against the Longhorns. Unlike in previous years, though, TCU won't scare the opposition with their offense, but rather their defense. Currently, the Horned Frogs are allowing 23.1 points per game and held some of the most explosive offense in the Big 12 in check, such as Kansas State and Oklahoma, who registered 23 and 24 points respectively.

Similarly, the Spartans feature a first-year quarterback in Andrew Maxwell, who has struggled at times, collecting 13 touchdowns and nine interceptions. But anyone who has watched Michigan State play knows their offense goes as Le'Veon Bell goes. In 350 attempts, Bell has churned out 1,648 yards and 11 scores, while averaging a conference-best 137.3 yards per game. Unfortunately for Bell, he will be up against the Big 12 leader in run defense. TCU is allowing slightly over 100 yards per game on the ground and has surrendered just 10 rushing touchdowns.

Prediction: TCU 27 – Michigan State 23

- Josh Harvey -

Kyle Phillippi covers the Big Ten Conference for His work has also been featured in Big Red Report Magazine and
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