The last time the Syracuse Orange took the field they became bowl eligible after a last second touchdown pass by Terrell Hunt. Now they have a chance to win a bowl game for the second straight year as they face Minnesota in the Texas Bowl.
The Orange were 5-6 and facing the Boston College Eagles in the last game of the regular season, and down 31-27 with less than two minutes remaining, the Orange season looked to be over. Now they are sitting in Houston looking to earn their second straight winning season.
The Orange (6-6) will have a tough task ahead of them as they face the 8-4 Golden Gophers, who played in this same bowl game last year. They lost 34-31 to Texas Tech.
Both teams are pretty similar on paper. The Orange and Gophers look to develop their offense through their run game. The Orange average 193.8 rushing yards per game and the Gophers average 200.9. The Orange have the 23rd best run defense in the nation, giving up only 138.3 yards per game. The Golden Gophers, on the other hand, are the 53rd best rushing defense in the country, giving up 154 yards per game.
The Orange have done a good job on defense this year getting tackles for a loss and forcing turnovers. Their 87 tackles for a loss are the 19th best in the NCAA and their 23 turnovers gained are 44th best.The Gophers offense has been good in both of these categories. They have only turned the ball over 15 times and have only given up 67 tackles for a loss this season. The Orange will be looking to force some mistakes from a well disciplined team.
The Pick: The Orange score 22 points per game and allow 26. The Gophers score 26 and allow 22 per game. Both teams are pretty similar on offense and I think it will come down to the defense. The Orange will have to slow down the run game of the Gophers and cause some problems in the backfield early. If the Orange defense can get a good start against a well disciplined Minnesota team, I think they can pull it off. Orange win a close one, 27-24.
Game Details: Texas Bowl, Reliant Stadium Houston, TX
Time: 6 p.m.
Line: Minnesota -4