Preview: Syracuse at Minnesota

When: 6:00 PM ET, Friday, December 27, 2013
Where: Reliant Stadium, Houston, Texas



TEXAS BOWL STORYLINES

1. Minnesota heads to the Texas Bowl for the second straight season, even though the team won two more games than it did in 2012 and some pundits expected the Golden Gophers to play in a more prominent bowl game. "You can’t control any of that. Our control is getting nine wins and winning a bowl game," said coach Jerry Kill, whose team will play Syracuse on Dec. 27 at Reliant Stadium in Houston. Minnesota suffered a devastating loss to Texas Tech in last year's Texas Bowl: it led 31-24 before the Red Raiders scored the tying touchdown with 1:10 left, then picked off Philip Nelson to set up the game-winning field goal at the buzzer.

2. Syracuse will be playing a Big Ten opponent for the third time this year, after losing to Penn State and Northwestern by a combined 27 points. The Orange also faced a pair of Big Ten teams last year, including a 17-10 road loss to the Golden Gophers in which Syracuse did not score a touchdown until 46 seconds remained in the game.

3. Kill personally has endured a tough season that included his latest seizure, which caused him to miss the Michigan game Oct. 5 and the Gophers' ensuing four-game win streak as he continued his ongoing battle with epilepsy. He returned to coach from the booth for Minnesota's final two games, losses to nationally-ranked Wisconsin and Michigan State.

TV:  6 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Minnesota -4.5

ABOUT SYRACUSE (6-6, 4-4 ACC): Following a two-game skid, the Orange secured bowl eligibility in dramatic fashion as Terrel Hunt found Josh Parris for the game-winning touchdown with six seconds left in a 34-31 win over Boston College. Hunt has thrown three touchdowns over the last two games after not throwing for any scores - while throwing seven interceptions - over the previous six contests. Hunt is known more for his legs, joining Jerome Smith (840 yards, 11 touchdowns) and Prince-Tyson Gulley (440 yards, four TDs) to give Syracuse a solid three-headed rushing attack.

ABOUT MINNESOTA (8-4, 4-4 Big Ten): Minnesota uses two quarterbacks, Nelson and Mitch Leidner, and the duo has combined for more rushing touchdowns (13) than passing scores (10). David Cobb is the workhorse back for the Gophers, rushing for 1,111 yards and seven TDs, although he rushed for only two scores in Minnesota's last eight games. The Gophers' defense showed significant improvement late in the season, allowing 44 points over the last three games. 

PREDICTION: Minnesota 31, Syracuse 16

Stats and Records

Team Comparison

  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Syracuse 6-6 W1 22.8 26.1 4-3 2-3 2-3 0-0 4-4
Minnesota 8-4 L2 26.4 22.3 5-2 3-2 2-1 0-0 4-4

Last Meeting

Syracuse Minnesota
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
9/22/12 SYR 10 MINN 17 350 122 228 337 106 231

Player Stats

Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP% YDS TD INT
SYR R. Nassib 67.7 228 1 2
MINN M. Shortell 53.3 231 0 0
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
SYR J. Smith 9 52 5.8 0
MINN D. Kirkwood 28 99 3.5 2
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
SYR A. Lemon 9 106 11.8 0
MINN D. Crawford-Tufts 3 67 22.3 0
TDs Player TD
SYR M. Sales 1
MINN D. Kirkwood 2
Season
Passing Player COMP% YDS TD INT
SYR T. Hunt 60.7 1444 10 8
MINN P. Nelson 51.4 1288 9 6
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
SYR J. Smith 184 840 4.6 11
MINN D. Cobb 219 1111 5.1 7
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
SYR A. Broyld 48 411 8.6 0
MINN D. Engel 25 401 16.0 5
TDs Player TD
SYR J. Smith 12
MINN D. Cobb 7

Quickchart Matchup

Syracuse Off vs  Minnesota Def
375.2 yards
371.3 yards
4.6 yards/rush
4.5 yards/rush
5.8 yards/attempt
6.9 yards/attempt
Minnesota Off vs  Syracuse Def
342.8 yards
368.6 yards
4.4 yards/rush
3.8 yards/rush
7.2 yards/attempt
7 yards/attempt

Live Game Odds

Lines History | All Odds
Currently no lines available.

Matchup Stats - Full Matchup

Syracuse Overall Minnesota
6-6-0 W/L 8-4-0
7-5-0 ATS 9-3-0
6-6-0 O/U 6-6-0
22.8 Pts For 26.4
26.1 Pts Against 22.3
Syracuse A/H Minnesota
2-3 W/L 5-2
2-3-0 ATS 5-2-0
3-2-0 O/U 3-4-0
14.8 Pts For 27.9
35.2 Pts Against 19.3