Harrell leads Texas Tech to biggest comeback in bowl history
TEMPE, Arizona -- When all seemed lost for Texas Tech, quarterback Graham Harrell decided to do something extraordinary.
Harrell threw for 445 yards as the Red Raiders posted a 44-41 overtime triumph over Minnesota in the Insight Bowl, completing the largest comeback in Division I-A bowl history.
Harrell completed 36-of-55 passes and threw for two touchdowns against one interception for Texas Tech (8-5), which trailed, 38-7, midway through the third period before posting what also was the largest comeback in school annals.
"I think at halftime, everybody sort of recommitted and understood that we had a great opportunity," Texas Tech coach Mike Leach said. "We really didn't want to be behind or anything. But you know, as long as we were here, we had a great opportunity to do something memorable. Then everybody recommitted and just zeroed in on doing their job."
After tossing a 43-yard score to Joel Falani in the third quarter, Harrell found Robert Johnson for an eight-yard TD at the start of the fourth period to cut the deficit to 38-21.
"Coming out of halftime, we were down, but I found once we went out for the first drive in the second half offensively, I said, 'Let's relax, have fun, we can't control anything that's happened,'" Harrell said. "'All we can do is have fun, see if we can't get this thing turned around.'"
One-yard touchdown runs by Harrell and Shannon Woods drew the Red Raiders within three points, and Alex Trlica's career-long 52-yard field goal at the end of regulation tied the game at 38-38.
"I just told myself to stay calm, not get too hyped up, go through your routine like it was any other kick," Trlica said.
Joel Monroe kicked a 32-yard field goal in overtime to give the Golden Gophers a three-point lead, but Harrell's two completions and a one-yard plunge by Woods on Texas Tech's overtime possession completed the dramatic comeback.
"I can't say enough about our players and our coaches because you have to have a group that needs to collectively believe in something before it can happen," Leach said. "I mean, if you have just a handful of doubters, it can screw the whole thing up. You go out and try to run some plays, if a handful of people are doubting, it can foul the whole deal up."
Woods gained 109 yards on 19 carries and scored three times. Falani had 11 catches for 162 yards and Johnson added nine receptions for 97 yards and a TD.
Bryan Cupito was 19-of-31 for 263 yards with three touchdowns and an interception for Minnesota (6-7), which had the ball more than 11 minutes more than Texas Tech.
Amir Pinnix carried 34 times for 179 yards and a score and Jack Simmons caught seven passes for 134 yards and a TD for the Golden Gophers, who were on the wrong end of a 548-458 difference in total yards.
"Texas Tech just came out in the second half ready to go," Minnesota coach Glen Mason said. "They never gave up. Credit goes out to them, they played a heck of a second half. Our team kind of got away from some of the things we were doing. Maybe we started playing a little lackadaisical, you know?
"By the time we got our heads on right, it was too late. When their offense gets a lot of momentum, it's really hard to stop the ball from rolling."
This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index
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