Cal, Texas Tech, look to parlay late-season runs into Independence Bowl triumph

Texas Tech quarterback Behren Morton looks to pass the ball during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Texas, Friday, Nov. 24, 2023, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Michael Thomas) (Michael Thomas, Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Independence Bowl: California (6-6) vs. Texas Tech (6-6), Dec. 16, 9:15 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Line: Texas Tech by 3, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

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Series record: Texas Tech leads 1-0.


Both teams won three times in the last month of their regular seasons to get here and now have a chance to finish above .500. Cal finished the regular season on a three-game winning streak to reach the six-victory threshold for bowl eligibility and won't want that streak to end. Tech will be seeking its fourth victory in five games and bounce back from its only loss in that stretch, which came against No. 3 Texas.


Cal's opportunistic defense and coverage units, which combined to rank second nationally in turnovers gained with 26, against a turnover-prone Texas Tech team that lost the ball 21 times on offense or returns to rank worse in turnovers lost than 103 other teams.


California: RB Jaydn Ott led the Pac-12 with 1,260 yards and 11 touchdowns rushing. Ott was named First Team All-Pac-12 by the league’s coaches, The Associated Press, College Football Network and College Football News. He also was one of 10 national finalists for the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award.

Texas Tech: RB Tahj Brooks ranked fourth nationally with 1,443 yards and nine TDs rushing. Brooks needs 139 rushing yards in the Independence Bowl to finish third on the Texas Tech single-season rushing chart. He has rushed for at least 90 yards in each of the last 10 games this season.


Texas Tech has lost two of its top three receivers this season — Jerand Bradley and Myles Price — to the transfer portal. ... Texas Tech defeated Cal 45-31 in the 2004 Holiday Bowl in San Diego. ... Texas Tech is playing in its third Independence Bowl and 41st bowl game overall. ... Tech seeks its third bowl victory in three years, having won the Texas Bowl last season and the Liberty Bowl in 2021. ... Cal is playing in its first appearance in the Independence Bowl and 25th bowl overall. ... The Bears are looking to end the season on a four-game win streak for the first time since winning their final four games in 1993 with a 37-3 victory over Iowa at the Alamo Bowl. ... The last Cal team to end the season on a winning streak longer than four games was in 1931 when the Bears won their final five. ... Cal has played once previously in Shreveport, Louisiana, losing 41-34 to Louisiana Tech on Oct. 4, 1997.


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