Minnesota had one of the more surprising, impressive performances of the season. Despite having to deal with the loss of head coach Jerry Kill, who was forced to take some time off to deal with seizures, the Gophers finished up with an 8-4 record, and with some quality wins in conference play against the likes of Penn State and Nebraska.
Syracuse, in their first season as a member of the ACC, just barely made it into bowl contention at 6-6 on the season, but they’re here. They had some downs, which included blowout losses to conference powers Florida State and Clemson, but they also had their ups, like that down-to-the-wire, comeback win over Boston College to close out the regular season.
Date: Dec. 27
Start Time: 6 PM ET
Location: Houston, TX
Stadium: Reliant Stadium
TV Info: ESPN
Live Stream: WatchESPN app
Odds: Minnesota -4.5
Prediction: This is a match up of two teams who love to run the ball to get things going offensively. Jerome Smith and Prince Tyson-Gulley are a punishing duo for the Orange, and David Cobb has amassed over 1,000 yards on the season for the Gophers.
The key in this one, though, will be the play of Syracuse QB Terrel Hunt. He’s looked good at times since he stepped in for Drew Allen, but he’s a bit turnover prone at times, tossing eight interceptions to his 10 touchdowns.
Look for a stout Minnesota defense to force some of those mistakes and walk away with the Texas Bowl win that they didn’t get last year.
Minnesota 17, Syracuse 14