Grades | Minnesota Golden Gophers 31, Texas Tech Red Raiders 34

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

So this was the most 2012 Texas Tech game ever? Right? Bad defense. Just enough offense. Mistakes on offense. A crap load of penalties. Three seniors made plays of the game. This was just the right amount of Texas Tech game and it was all I really ever thought the game would be. When asked by The Daily Gopher what I thought the score would be like, I thought Texas Tech would win by 6, the game would be in the 30's for both teams and Texas Tech would win, but the 13 point spread was too much. This Texas Tech team has a lot of flaws and I thought this Minnesota game was going to be exactly like the Kansas game on some level. Texas Tech wouldn't be able to keep Minnesota and their strong running game off the field, but Texas Tech would get enough stops to win. That's essentially what happened. I don't think this win "means" anything other than it puts that extra spring in my step. Any win is better than a loss, even if your uber-talented tight ends decides to punch a player, so I'll take it with me into the offseason and I think it's much easier for new head coach Kliff Kingsbury so sell an eight win team rather than a seven win team. Sure, it's just a game, but it's a game.

Minnesota 31, Texas Tech 34 | Box Score | Quotes |

QUOTES

Interim head coach Chris Thomsen said some really good things. In the post game press conference gave credit to everyone except himself and he deserves a round of applause for getting this win. Thank you again coach, you didn't have to do this, but it sure is appreciated.

"I’m really proud of our senior players. I’ve gotten to tell some little stories about those guys over the last couple of weeks that I’m really proud of. (QB) Seth Doege’s one of those guys. He struggled at times tonight, but really just like he has his whole career, he just kept battling back. He got us back into the game there. (S) D.J. Johnson is another one of those guys that I’ve talked about for the last couple weeks. He gave up the deep ball in the third quarter, and he bounced back and forced the turnover. He got a big play on the interception to put us in position. So in my time around these guys, I’m super proud of them. I’m really excited that they got a win and get to finish off their career on a high note."

OFFENSIVE STAR OF THE GAME | QB Seth Doege

It has to be Doege, right? He was both good and bad, but when it counted, he was incredibly significant, helped make some plays, had a beautiful pass to Ward to tie the game after struggling for most of the second half. So Doege.

DEFENSIVE STAR OF THE GAME | S D.J. Johnson

Johnson's the other safety, the one that doesn't get the accolades that Davis gets, but Johnson was on full display. Both good and bad this game, much like Doege. Still, he came up with one of the plays of the game.

SPECIAL TEAMS STAR OF THE GAME | K Ryan Bustin

That game-winning field goal looked like a golf shot that I would hit (I really don't play golf, except on a rare occassion.). Doesn't get too high off the ground, not sure what direction it was going initially, but it eventually went where it was intended go go.

GRADES

Some good and bad. Lots of things to discuss in the offseason.

GRADE

POSITION

C

QUARTERBACK

This was the most Doege game ever right? There were times that he looked incredibly good, especially in the first half, and then in the second half I wasn't sure if he was going to be able to lead a scoring drive to get ahead. So Doege. Only 6 yards per completion, only 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions, but son of a gun, he came away with the win. I really do believe that Doege cares about the win more than anything else. And I hope like heck that Doege can play at the next level, but you and I saw why he won't. His arm just isn't all that strong, not strong enough for the NFL right now. Maybe some day if he works at it, but he's got to get stronger. Michael Brewer looked great in his one pass, a touchdown of course.

B

RUNNING BACKS

For the first time all year, this is how RB Eric Stephens is supposed to look. He's supposed to be incredibly quick and tough to tackle, and good enough to run between the tackles. I thought he was fantastic and it showed in the statistics as he rushed only 5 times for 66 yards, but he was really electric. RB Kenny Williams was very solid as well and he's going to be incredibly solid next year. I can't really complain at all about the running backs in general and though they were very solid as they finished with 122 yards on 16 carries and 4 catches for 41 yards. Would have been fine with some more runs, but that's being picky.

B+

RECEIVERS

Since I have to give a grade for the entire unit here, I have to give a solid "B+" but truthfully, this grade was pulled down by TE Jace Amaro, who didn't catch two passes that he probably should have had (I think) and he punched an opposing player. Really. He'll be suspended for the first half of the first game next year, but Amaro needs to grow up a lot during the spring and summer. Too much talking, not enough doing here. Other than Amaro, I thought that the only other guy that I thought should have had a pass was IR Tyson Williams missing a catch over his shoulder. Williams actually had a very solid game otherwise. Other than that, I loved their play. It was actually pretty fitting that the Brewer touchdown pass was to WR Derreck Edwards who is either going to put it all together next year and be a beast or he's going to be middling. WR Eric Ward and WR Darrin Moore were really fantastic, they combined for 18 catches for 163 yards. Moore almost had a touchdown, but the slant for Ward was a thing of beauty. And since I don't have a special teams category, how about the electric IR Jakeem Grant. He so fast.

B

OFFENSIVE LINE

The good was that the line only gave up 1 sack for 5 yards, protected Doege very well, opened some holes along the line that I thought were really impressive. Especially early. Looked like a different offense at the line in particular. But the bad was the penalties and the unsportsmanlike play from the line. Texas Tech is incredibly close, down to the Minnesota 1 yard line in the middle of the second quarter and Waddle gets an unsportsmanlike penalty putting Texas Tech back out to the 16 and now Texas Tech has to figure out a way to score on 3rd and 16. Also in that drive, Texas Tech was able to overcome a Beau Carpenter false start. So just as much as Amaro cost this team a touchdown with a bad penalty, so did Waddle. The reason why this game was as close as it was, was because of the penalties. Those penalties have plagued this team all year, so I expected that they would happen, but it's never good to think that your team is going to make lots of dumb penalties and putting your team in a whole through the whole game. And this isn't just to highlight the line, the whole team had bad penalties, from the Hyder, to Edwards, to Amaro, to Waddle. This really has to stop.

C+

DEFENSIVE LINE

The defensive line was down a man with DT Leon Mackey's suspension, but maybe that wasn't such a bad thing. I thought that the defense gave up some huge chunks of yards, but overall, the defense only allowed 4.1 yards a rush, had some very important sacks forcing some bad plays and overall adjusted. The first three or so drives, I thought that the defensive line wasn't going to adjust for the game, but they did turn it around, only allowed two second half scores, which was better than three in the first half. The defensive line isn't perfect by any means. I think the line did really hold Minnesota late as their last four drives. DE Dartwan Bush was really fantastic for the better part of the game. I can't remember when a DE had 11 tackles during a game. Just terrific. DT Dennell Wesley, Delvon Simmons and Kerry Hyder were all pretty good as those three players combined for 17 tackles and 3 sacks.

C-

LINEBACKERS

I didn't think their play was all that bad. I think I have lowered my standards to the point that when I type things like this that I'm giving the linebackers for not being, "all that bad". This group will need to make the greatest improvement next year, more than any other group of players. They're just not making enough plays. I really can't think of a play that they made in the second half of the year. Not an interception. Not a big hit that resulted in a turnover. Not really a big hit at all. That's really problematic.

C

SECONDARY

A lot like the Kansas game, the secondary really didn't give up a ton of yards, but Minnesota was really awful throwing the ball for the better part of the year. And then they gave up a 42 yard pass on D.J. Johnson that resulted in a touchdown on the next play. Minnesota only completed 8 passes, but the Golden Gophers still had 146 passing yards, for 18+ yards a completion. That's a lot of big plays given up and this team really can't afford to give up big plays. Johnson was as active as I can remember, 14 tackles, and it's amazing what happens when a player gets a turnover. S Cody Davis got trucked and that was on the ESPN highlights, but that Minnesota RB was 225 and Davis might top 200. I'd also add that NB Tre Porter had some bad plays, but he was also the guy that tipped the ball to allow Johnson to intercept the ball. I'd be fine with Porter at one of the safety spots next year.

B

COACHING

Considering all of the things that interim head coach has going on, including the thought that he's moving to California very soon, I thought he did a fantastic job. I thought Cumbie did a good job of calling plays. It wasn't explosive, but this team should have had 14 additional points on the board had it not been for some really dumb penalties (and one less field goal) and he can't control that from the sideline. Kaufman put out a defense that was just good enough to get the win.

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