"We are excited to except this invitation to the Konica Minolta Gator Bowl, which is one of the most prestigious and storied bowl games in college football history," Myers said. "We are proud of Coach Leach, his staff and our student-athletes for what they have been able to accomplish this season. We appreciate the opportunity to display our football team, athletics department and university in front of a national New Year's Day audience is an honor."
Texas Tech makes its fourth appearance at the Gator Bowl, dating back to the 1954 matchup with Auburn. The Red Raiders, coming off of a 10-1 regular season, capped the year with a 35-13 win over the Tigers on New Year's Day. Texas Tech is 2-1 all-time in the Gator Bowl with the program's second win coming against Tennessee, 28-19, in 1973. Georgia Tech handed Texas Tech its only loss in Jacksonville, 31-21, in 1965. Tech's first Gator Bowl appearance also saw the dawning of one of the more storied traditions in college football – the birth of the Masked Rider.
"I have always believed the Konica Minolta Gator Bowl is one of the best games of the bowl season," Red Raider Head Coach Mike Leach said. "The opportunity to play on a national stage against a great conference is one of our goals each season. The Gator Bowl is a great reward for the efforts put forth by our staff and student-athletes this season. We look forward to facing the Virginia Cavaliers in Jacksonville."
The Red Raiders (8-4, 4-4) finished the 2007 regular season on a high note, knocking off then-No. 3 Oklahoma, 34-27, at Jones AT&T Stadium two weeks ago. Six of Texas Tech's eight conference opponents are heading to bowl games this season, including four from the Big 12 South division, and two – Oklahoma and Kansas – to the BCS. After dropping its opener at Wyoming, Virginia rattled off seven-straight wins en route to a 9-3 (6-2 ACC) season. The Cavaliers are making their 17th bowl appearance and second in the Gator Bowl. Virginia lost 48-14 to Oklahoma in the 1991 Gator Bowl.
The two teams share one thing in common – both have wins over Minnesota in their last bowl appearance. The Red Raiders capped the biggest comeback in bowl history with a 44-41 overtime win over the Golden Gophers at the Insight Bowl last season. Texas Tech trailed 38-7 early in the second half, before scoring 35-unanswered points, culminating with a game-tying 52-yard field goal at the end of regulation to send the game to overtime. The Cavaliers' last bowl game was the 2005 Music City Bowl against Minnesota, a 34-31 Virginia win.
Texas Tech's 31 bowl appearances are tied with Miami (Fla.) and Mississippi in 17th place and are the fourth-most appearances by a Big 12 program. The Red Raiders played seven-straight bowl games, entering this season, and has a 4-3 record since 2000, including wins in four of the last five. Texas Tech leads all Big 12 Conference programs with 15-consecutive bowl eligible seasons.
The 62nd edition of the Gator Bowl will kickoff at noon CT from the 77,000-seat Jacksonville Municipal Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla. CBS will broadcast the game live.
Tickets for the game are available through the Texas Tech Athletic Ticket Office by phone at (888) GO-BIG-12 or (806) 742-TECH. Tickets are currently on sale at www.texastech.com and are $50, $60, & $75 each. Seat assignments will be based on Red Raider Club priority points and current Football season ticket holder status. Orders taken through Wednesday will be ranked by priority points, then by season ticket holder status, and lastly by date.
Texas Tech students can purchase up to two of the $50 tickets at half price. Student Red Raider Club members can purchase these tickets starting in person Wednesday in the athletic ticket office located at the north end of Jones AT&T Stadium. Student tickets will then go on sale for all students Thursday. Students must bring their Tech ID to the ticket office in person to obtain the discounted bowl tickets.