By Will Martin
Syracuse Orange vs Minnesota Golden Gophers
Friday – December 27 – 5:00 PM
Reliant Stadium – Houston
Bowl games are now underway in the States and you can’t discuss bowl games without adding the state of Texas into the mix.
Beginning Friday the 27th when the Texas Bowl leads off a run of six bowl games that will take the fan from Houston to El Paso to San Antonio, Ft. Worth, Dallas, and Arlington after the New Year. The final three I will be in attendance for.
If there were another I could see in person the matchup between the Gophers of Minnesota (8-4) and Orangemen of Syracuse (6-6). There are some interesting subplots at work here.
Back on October 10th Gopher coach Jerry Kill announced he was leaving the team to handle his epilepsy issues. In the interim coach Tracy Claeys and team proceeded to do something not seen since 1973. Four wins in a row!
Syracuse began the 2013 season with an 0-2 mark before getting back on the winning track with first year coach Scott Shafer. Orange quarterback Terrel Hunt had great success in his first game as a sophomore with a five touchdown performance (four passing / one rushing) in a 52-17 victory over Tulane back in September before going through a six game burp with no touchdowns and seven interceptions.
For Minnesota, freshman Philip Nelson had the starting gig before making way for redshirt freshman Mitch Leidner (after Nelson got injured). Nelson came back for a game against Indiana November 2nd.
You might recall that Minnesota had a wild and crazy game with Texas Tech in Houston last year when the Gophers lost a big lead and the Raiders won on a crazy fluke field goal late. One player to keep an eye on defensively for the Gophers is All Ten Defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman.
Both offenses rank 108th and 116th in the nation so don’t expect anything special from either team. Unless you want to talk about special. This will favor Syracuse. In the event that the Orange can get the win it shall mark the first time for consecutive winning seasons since 2001. That streak for Syracuse covered fifteen years.
If you’re headed out to Reliant Stadium know that the parking lots open at 1pm. Gates open at 3:30 and the game itself shall begin at 5pm CST.
Stoney LaRue will be performing prior to the game. Enjoy the day and enjoy how Houston hosts a football game with the utmost in hospitality. A great post holiday getaway for getting bowled over.
Prediction: Syracuse 31 – Minnesota 20