HOUSTON – The University of Minnesota and Texas Tech University have accepted bids to play in the 2012 Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas, the bowl organizing committee announced today. The Golden Gophers will represent the Big Ten Conference and the Red Raiders will represent the Big 12 Conference.
The 2012 Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas will be played on Friday, Dec. 28 at 8 p.m. CST at Reliant Stadium. The game will air on ESPN and ESPN Radio.
The Golden Gophers (6-6), led by head coach Jerry Kill, run a balanced attack keyed by the running of sophomore RB Donnell Kirkwood, who finished the season with 849 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. The quarterback trio of sophomore Max Shortell, freshman Philip Nelson and senior QB/WR MarQuies Gray combined to pass for 2,052 yards and 17 touchdowns on the year.
“The Minnesota Golden Gophers are a team on the rise with an exciting offense and we look forward to hosting their fans here in Houston for the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas,” Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas executive director Heather Houston said.
The Red Raiders (7-5), led by head coach Tommy Tuberville, feature a dynamic offensive attack directed by the passing of senior QB Seth Doege, who finished the season with 3,934 passing yards and 38 passing touchdowns. Doege ranks fourth in the nation in passing and sixth in passing yards per game. The wide receiver duo of senior Darrin Moore and junior Eric Ward combined for 1,922 receiving yards and 24 touchdowns this season.
“We are thrilled to welcome Texas Tech back to Houston for its first time since 2003,” Houston said. “We feel that the Red Raiders will be a great match for Minnesota and that football fans in Houston will love their exciting offense.”
Ticket prices range from $30-115 and may be purchased online at http://www.ticketmaster.com, on the phone at 832-667-2390 or in person at the Reliant Stadium box office inside Budweiser Plaza. The Bowl has already sold more than 40,000 tickets through renewals, Bowl Backer packages, pre-sales and team allotments.
Minnesota will be looking for its first bowl win since the 2004 Music City Bowl, when it defeated Alabama 20-16. A Gopher victory would also improve the Big Ten’s record in the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas to 2-1 following Illinois’ 38-14 win over Baylor in 2010 and Northwestern’s 33-22 loss to Texas A&M last year.
Texas Tech is bowl eligible for the 19th time in the last 20 seasons. The Red Raiders are searching for their first bowl win since 2010 when they defeated Northwestern 45-38 in the Cotton Bowl.
About the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas
The Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas has been a tremendous success both on and off the field over its first five years. The bowl has generated an average of $29 million per year for the Houston economy and has over 25,000 season ticket holders. The game has averaged more than 63,000 fans in its six-year history, including a crowd of 68,395 for last year’s game between Texas A&M and Northwestern. Away from the field, the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas has donated nearly $500,000 to date and more than $10 million in promotional support and publicity to DePelchin Children’s Center, the Bowl’s official charitable beneficiary.
About ESPN Regional Television/Event Ownership
The nation’s largest syndicator of collegiate sports programming, ESPN Regional Television (ERT) annually produces more than 1,200 sporting events. Content includes action from NCAA football, basketball and Olympic sports, NHRA and professional and amateur golf, accounting for more than 3,400 live and/or original hours of programming. ERT’s owned and operated events reach over a million fans a year and provides more than 200 additional hours of programming.
In addition to event ownership, ERT is the production headquarters for ESPNU; syndication rights-holder and producer of national, regional and local shows for college conferences (SEC, BIG EAST, Big 12, Mid-American, WAC) and manages the Big 12 Corporate Partner Program.