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Texas Bowl Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Syracuse Orange 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 -- Over/Under: 46 See the Latest Odds


The Syracuse Orange and Minnesota Golden Gophers travel to Reliant Stadium for the Texas Bowl.

Syracuse was somewhat inconsistent in that they would win a few, lose a few and needed a 34-31 victory over Boston College to end the regular season to become Bowl eligible at 6-6. The Orange were not a big scoring offense and needed strong performances on the defensive side of the football to be competitive. This unit gave up 368 yards and 26 points with the #27 run defense that allowed only 138 yards. The offense averaged under 23 points but were a solid rushing squad at 194 yards which made controlling the scoreboard important because putting the football in the air wasn't a strength. Terrel Hunt was adequate under center at nearly 61% for 1,444 yards but made mistakes with ten touchdowns and eight picks with Ashton Broyld the top target with 48 catches for 411 yards while three others totaled just under 900 yards on 77 receptions. Jerome Smith paced the rushing attack with 840 yards on 184 totes in an effective but controlled running game.

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

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

By all accounts I believe Minnesota has enjoyed a banner season behind outstanding play defensively. Overall both sides of the ball performed very well in the wins but the scoring really struggled in the defeats. The D gave up 371 yards and 22 points while the run heavy offense averaged 343 yards and 26 points with around 200 yards coming on the ground. Philip Nelson was a little more then a 50% passer with 1,288 yards with nine scores and six interceptions. Derrick Engel and Maxx Williams were the only significant members of the receiving corps with a combined 742 yards on 45 receptions for nine touchdowns. David Cobb was the big gun on the ground with 1,111 yards on 219 carries with three others combining for over 1,000 yards on another 199 totes so the Golden Gophers seldom put the ball in the air.

I am leaning to Minnesota and their rushing attack but I first want to see the status of Nelson and until then this pick is subject to change...

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