Texas Tech Linebackers
Tech ranked 76th nationally in rushing defense, giving up 147.42 yards a game, which was good for 9th in the Big XII. Much of the lack of ability to stop the running attack falls at the feet of the Tech linebackers.
I do not believe that there is a unit on the Texas Tech team that underperformed more than the linebackers.
Fletcher Session was okay, but not necessarily memorable. That's not really the way that I want my linebackers to play. Kellen Tillman seemed to under perform all year, despite the fact that he's a 5th year senior. The one play that I will remember most was at the TCU game and, while Tillman was on the sideline not playing, he knocks down a player who was clearly out of bounds. Other than the mistakes, it's hard to remember a defining moment for Tillman, Sessions or Stratton. Yes, that's right we won't be playing "One Shining Moment" for these guys.
As an aside, in the last 2 games of the year Paul Willilams replaced Tillman in the starting lineup and I certainly think that this is an improvement.
The linebackers have to make plays, in some form or fashion, they need to make tackles, fill the gaps to stop the run. As a group, they haven't done an excellent job of doing either and I doubt that they'll change their tune now.
Minnesota Running Backs
Minnesota's rushing offense ranks 45th nationally and 5th in the Big Ten, while Amir Pinnix ranked 28th nationally, averaging 91.08 rushing yards a game.
None of the leading rushers for Minnesota appear to be much of a threat in the passing game. Pinnix's longest run of the year was only for 39 yards and so it would not appear that he's a true game breaker. Pinnix's best game was against Purdue, where he rushed for 173 yards, but rushed only for 100 yards or more 3 other times (Kent State, Michigan State, and Iowa). Pinnix's low point was early in the year against Cal where he managed only 17 yards.
Without seeing a single snap of Minnesota football, it's difficult to tell the type of runner that Pinnix is, but like most competent college programs, Pinnix is probably a pretty good back and considering that Minnesota is at the very least competent in terms of rushing then I would suspect that Minnesota has an advantage.