THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published — Sunday 30 December 2012
Last update 29 December 2012 11:10 pm
HOUSTON: Texas Tech’s D.J. Johnson returned an interception 39 yards and Ryan Bustin made a 28-yard field goal as time expired to give the Red Raiders a 34-31 comeback victory over Minnesota on Friday in college football’s Meineke Car Care Bowl.
In the day’s other bowl games, a field goal in overtime gave Virginia Tech a 13-10 win over Rutgers in the Russell Athletic Bowl and Ohio cruised to a 45-14 win over Louisiana-Monroe in the Independence Bowl.
Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege found Eric Ward on a short pass, and he outran a defender for a 35-yard scoring play to tie the game 31-31 with just more than a minute remaining, setting up Bustin’s winning field goal.
Minnesota’s Michael Carter intercepted two of Doege’s passes in the fourth quarter before the tying score, but the Golden Gophers couldn’t convert either of the turnovers into points.
Texas Tech got their third straight bowl win to wrap up a month that began with coach Tommy Tuberville’s abrupt departure for the job at Cincinnati. Texas Tech has hired Kliff Kingsbury to replace him, but interim coach Chris Thomsen led the team against Minnesota. Kingsbury watched from a suite.
In Orlando, Florida, Virginia Tech’s Cody Journell kicked a 22-yard field goal on the first possession of overtime to help the Hokies beat Rutgers.
Virginia Tech won its third straight game to avoid its first losing season since 1992.
Rutgers had a chance to tie it in overtime, but Nick Borgese missed a 42-yard field goal attempt.
Virginia Tech trailed 10-0 at halftime, then rallied in the final 30 minutes thanks to some timely turnovers and offense. Quarterback Logan Thomas struggled in the first and finished with a pair of interceptions, but also had 192 yards passing.
Virginia Tech cornerback Antone Exum, selected the most valuable player of the game, picked off Gary Nova’s pass early in the fourth quarter to set up the tying score — Thomas’ 21-yard pass to Corey Fuller with 10:56 left as steady rain began to fall.
Rutgers had opened the scoring when Virginia Tech center Caleb Farris sent his second snap of the night sailing past Thomas and into the end zone. Thomas tried to run it out of play, but he was swarmed and lost the ball as he was tackled. It was recovered by Khaseem Greene for the touchdown.
In Shreveport, Louisiana, Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton threw for 331 yards and two touchdowns while Beau Blankenship ran for four scores as the Bobcats easily beat Louisiana-Monroe.
Chase Cochran caught three passes for 162 yards and a touchdown as Ohio won their second straight bowl game. Blankenship’s four rushing touchdowns set an Independence Bowl record. He added 104 yards rushing.
Tettleton was especially sharp in the first half, completing 9 of 14 passes for 215 yards and two touchdowns as Ohio built a 24-7 lead.
Louisiana-Monroe struggled in its first bowl game after 19 seasons in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Kolton Browning completed 21 of 39 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns, but also threw three first-half interceptions.