Big 12 Bowl Central
Need to know: 11 a.m., Jan. 1, Cotton Bowl, Dallas, ESPNU.
Team records: Texas Tech 7-5, Northwestern 7-5.
Story lines: While his first season in Lubbock had more downs than ups, Tommy Tuberville’s debut as Texas Tech’s coach produced a positive: The Red Raiders will play in their 11th consecutive bowl game.
"We won some big games and we lost some games we probably had a chance to win,” Tuberville said of Year One as Tech’s coach. “The thing I liked, though, was... they came back each week to get better. We did improve as the year went on."
One of Texas Tech’s victories came in the Cotton Bowl on Oct. 9 when the Red Raiders outslugged Baylor, 45-38.
This will be the fifth time the Red Raiders will end their season in a New Year’s Day game in Dallas but they’re 0-4 on previous occasions. Instead of the Cotton Bowl game, Texas Tech is playing in the inaugural TicketCity Bowl.
Tuberville said he plans to play both of the team's senior quarterbacks, Taylor Potts and Steven Sheffield. Potts completed 65.9 percent of his passes for 3,357 yards with 31 TDs and nine interceptions.
Northwestern is without its top quarterback. All-Big Ten quarterback Dan Persa suffered an Achilles' tendon injury in a 21-17 victory over Iowa on Nov. 13. Redshirt freshman Evan Watkins started the last two games – a 48-27 loss to Illinois and a 70-23 loss to Wisconsin – and completed 23 of 42 for 258 yards with a TD and four interceptions. Freshman Kain Colter saw action in the lopsided loss to Wisconsin.
"They're freshmen - a true freshman and a redshirt freshman - out there making some mistakes," Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said.
Texas Tech update
First-year defensive coordinator James Willis left the team after it arrived in Dallas. A press release from the school said he had departed to “pursue other career opportunities.” … A year ago, under interim coach Ruffin McNeil, the Red Raiders defeated Michigan State, 41-31, in the Alamo Bowl. … Texas Tech has won six of its last eight bowl games but both losses came in Dallas in the Cotton Bowl Classic. … The Red Raiders are allowing 306 yards per game passing, more than any other team in the FBS.
The Wildcats struggle to protect the quarter and allow an average of 3.3 sacks per game. … Northwestern’s Jeremy Ebert led the Big Ten Conference with 919 receiving yards. … Leading rusher Mike Trumpy, who suffered a hairline fracture in his right wrist against Illinois, hopes to play against Texas Tech. … The Wildcats have lost three of their last four, allowing 153 total points in those losses.
Northwestern’s last bowl victory came in the 1949 Rose Bowl. The Wildcats have lost their last seven bowl games.