Texas Tech (8-4, 5-3) is headed to its 10th-straight bowl game, and 33rd overall, as the program announced on Sunday that it has accepted an invitation to the Valero Alamo Bowl in San Antonio. Mike Leach's team will face off against Big Ten representative Michigan State (6-6, 4-4) on Saturday, Jan. 2 at 8 p.m. CT; ESPN will broadcast the game.
"San Antonio is a really good city, a very good city," defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill said. "I'm just excited that we're playing in such a great bowl game. Our kids, once we announced it at practice, everybody started clapping. They were excited, too. I got a little goosebumps right now thinking about it."
While this will be the Red Raiders' first meeting with the Spartans, McNeill said that they know what to expect from Mark Dantonio's team.
"They throw the football," he said. "They're leading the Big Ten in pass offense, third in total offense. Offensively, they'll spread the ball around and throw it around. Defensively, they have a first-team All-American, [Greg] Jones, at linebacker. Special teams, number one kickoff (unit) in the Big Ten.
"They've got a good football team. Coach Dantonio has a fundamental, Ohio State background. They'll be sound and ready to go."
Texas Tech is coming off of a 20-13 victory over Baylor in Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. McNeill indicated that the memories of that neutral site game will help the team prepare for the bowl game.
"I thought the kids handled the Dallas game very well," he said. "It was a bowl-type atmosphere. It gave us a little taste of that. I thought it really helped, and will help. prepare and give our our guys a little taste of the bowl-type trip."
Much like with the season finale against the Bears, it is likely that the Red Raiders will be playing in front of a friendly crowd in the Alamodome. The program's last appearance in the Alamo Bowl, 2001, was the fifth-highest attended game (65,232) in the game's history.
"our fans and our support of Red Raider Nation will be very strong in San Antonio just like it was the last time down," McNeill said. "That's what the kids were excited about. We carried strong in '01 to San Antonio. One of the top attendance marks in Alamo Bowl history. I feel very comfortable saying that Red Raider Nation will make San Antonio very proud with our presence."
This season's Alamo Bowl will mark the third-straight bowl appearance for Michigan State, the first time it has reached that mark since 1995-97; overall, it has a 7-12 record in the post-season. Texas Tech is 5-4 in bowl games under Leach, 10-21-1 overall.