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Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Syracuse Orange Texas Bowl Pick-Odds-Prediction 12/27/13

Syracuse Orange (6-6) at Minnesota Golden Gophers (8-4)

College Football: Friday, December 27, 2013 at 6:00 pm (Reliant Stadium)

The Line: Minnesota Golden Gophers -4.5 -- Over/Under: 46 See the Latest Odds


The Minnesota Golden Gophers play the Syracuse Orange in the Texas Bowl on Friday.

Minnesota finished the season 8-4 overall and 4-4 in the Big Ten. The Gophers head to the Texas Bowl for the second straight season, even though the team won two more games than it did in 2012 and some people expected Minnesota to play in a more prominent bowl game. Minnesota suffered a devastating loss to Texas Tech in last year’s Texas Bowl and will look to earn a victory this year. Head coach Jerry Kill has endured a tough season that included his latest seizure, which caused him to miss the Michigan game in October 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. The Gophers us two quarterbacks, Phillip Nelson and Mitch Leidner, and the duo has combined for more rushing touchdowns, 13, than passing scores, 10. RB David Cobb is the workhorse for Minnesota, rushing for 1,111 yards and 7 touchdowns, although he only rushed for two scores in the last 8 games. Minnesota’s defense showed significant improvement late in the season, allowing 44 points over the last three games.

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Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Syracuse Orange Texas Bowl Pick-Odds-Prediction 12/27/13

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange finished the season with a 6-6 overall record and 4-4 in the ACC. The Orange 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. Syracuse 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. Following a two-game skid, the Orange secured bowl eligibility in dramatic fashion as QB Terrel Hunt found WR 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 RB Jerome Smith, 840 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns, and RB Prince-Tyson Gulley, 440 yards and 4 touchdowns, to give Syracuse a solid three-headed rushing attack.

Minnesota should not be playing a 6-6 team in bowl this year after having played a tough schedule and competing extremely well this year. I think the Gophers will be playing with a chip on their shoulder and will win this game by double-digits. Minnesota will focus on stopping the Syracuse rushing attack and if they have success, this game could get ugly. The Gophers should have no problem scoring against a weak Orange defense. I’m taking Minnesota to win and cover in the Texas Bowl.

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