Texas Tech football classics: Red Raiders complete record comeback vs. Minnesota

Quarterback Graham Harrell #6 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders drops back to pass. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Quarterback Graham Harrell #6 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders drops back to pass. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

Several Red raiders stepped up in the second half

Picking just one player of the game in such an improbable comeback would be impossible so let’s take a look at several players that helped lead the way back from 31 points down.  Of course, that begins with Graham Harrell.

Turning the ball over three times in a first half that could have been the worst half of his Red Raider career, he righted the ship after halftime by throwing for 332 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for one.  In all, he threw for 445 yards, completing 36-55 attempts with those two touchdowns.

His top target was Joel Filani who put on a show in the city where he grew up.  In his Red Raider finale, he caught 11 passes for 167 yards and a touchdown averaging 14.7 yards per reception.

One overlooked hero was running back Shannon Woods. The sophomore ran for 109 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winner in OT.  Averaging 5.7 yards per carry, his ability to pick up yards on the ground in the second half kept Minnesota’s defense from coming after Harrell on every play.  And he was the only Red Raider who played up to his usual level in the first half.

On the other side of the ball, defensive backs Antonio Huffman and Joe Garcia tied for the team lead with nine tackles each.  Huffman also had Tech’s only turnover on the night, the interception that he should have scored a touchdown on had he not fumbled.

What’s more, several Red Raider defenders came up with crucial third-down stops to fuel the comeback.  Minnesota’s second drive of the second half ended when defensive lineman Deke Bake came up with a sack.  It was one of four tackles in the game for the native of Fresno, California.

On the Gophers’ next drive, safety Daniel Charbonnet’s 4th-down sack put an end to a Minnesota threat that had reached the Tech 31-yard-line.  It was his only tackle of the game.

Later, Minnesota again reached Tech territory by getting to the 48-yard-line with just 1:59 to play as they tried to run out the clock.  But a Paul Williams sack forced a punt and gave the offense just enough time to tie the game.  Williams ended the night with six tackles but none were as impactful as his timely sack.

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Sometimes bowl games have little bearing on the programs that participate in them.  In fact, some would even suggest that the only bowl games that truly matter are the three playoff games that determine the national champion.  Though the 2006 Insight Bowl did not have such lofty stakes, it shaped the 2007-08 seasons by instilling in the program the type of confidence that would carry the Red Raiders to never before seen heights by the time Graham Harrell’s career was finished.