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Meineke Bowl
Kick lets Texas Tech end on high note

HOUSTON — Texas Tech has had a difficult month since coach Tommy Tuberville left abruptly for the job at Cincinnati.

The struggles continued on Friday night, and the Red Raiders trailed Minnesota by a touchdown with just more than a minute left in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

That was when seniors D.J. Johnson and Seth Doege came through with big plays to help Texas Tech to a 34-31 win.

After Doege connected with Eric Ward on a 35-yard scoring play to pull the Red Raiders even at 31 with just more than a minute remaining, Johnson returned an interception 39 yards and Ryan Bustin made a 28-yard field goal as time expired to give the Red Raiders the win.

We've overcome a lot of adversity, Johnson said. To end my last play like that is a blessing.

Chick-fil-A Bowl
LSU's pass D braces for a challenge

ATLANTA — The most obvious matchup of strengths Monday night in the Chick-fil-A Bowl will be Clemson's high-scoring spread offense against Louisiana State's defense.

Each unit ranks among the top 10 nationally.

A closer look shows No. 9 LSU's pass defense hasn't been so stingy lately. LSU gave up more than 300 yards passing in three straight wins over Mississippi State, Mississippi and Arkansas to close the regular season. That sets the stage for a tougher test against Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd and receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins.

LSU began November ranked fourth nationally against the pass. It has dropped to 11th — still a strong ranking.

Kelly: Early to bed for Irish

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly says the top-ranked Fighting Irish will have an early curfew every night they are in Miami preparing to play second-ranked Alabama for the national title.

Kelly told the media Saturday he usually has a 2 a.m. curfew the first night or two on bowl trips so players can have fun. He says the curfew in Miami will be 11 p.m. every night, saying he has told the Irish (12-0) to approach the game as a business trip.

The Irish are seeking their first national championship since 1988. Kelly says the Irish had a physical practice Saturday and will have another Sunday. The Irish head to Miami on Wednesday.

The Irish play Alabama (12-1) in the BCS title game Jan. 7.

Orange Bowl
Werner ready for a test

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — When asked to explain the start of his football career, Florida State defensive end Bjoern Werner says it began in his native Germany with a long-lost friend named Mirko and a group of weird guys tossing a ball around.

He's lost touch with them all.

So they might not even know how they helped him begin a journey that seems pointed toward NFL riches.

Werner will lead the Seminoles into the Orange Bowl on Tuesday night against Northern Illinois, and it's widely expected that it will be his final college game. Projected as a high first-round pick in the next NFL draft, Werner says he will announce a few days after the Orange Bowl if he will forgo his last year of eligibility. He says he and his wife know their decision. That is, unless she changes her mind.

-- The Associated Press

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