After a long wait, and several possibilities thrown around, on Sunday night the Syracuse football team (6-6) accepted an invite to play the Minnesota Golden Gophers (8-4) in the Texas Bowl. The game will take place in Reliant Stadium, the home of the Houston Texans, on December 27th. (The Texas Bowl is formerly known as the Meineke Car Care Bowl).
Throughout the weekend, the Orange appeared to be in a tight spot, as their bowl hopes dwindled with each team selected ahead of them for bowl spots. Following their comeback win over Boston College last Saturday, the bowl predictions ranged from the Military Bowl in Maryland to the Heart of Dallas Bowl in Texas to the Pinstripe Bowl, which the Orange won last season, and in 2010 .
But, late on Sunday evening, the Orange accepted their invitation to play in the Texas Bowl against Minnesota from the Big Ten. In doing so, SU takes the Big 12's vacated spot.
??It is great to see an ACC-Big Ten matchup in a terrific bowl game,?? said Syracuse Head Coach Scott Shafer in the SU athletics release. ??I couldn??t be happier for our senior class to have the opportunity to go to Texas and play a Big Ten school. One of the things I have enjoyed the most about this season is our seniors. They are tough kids who never give in. This is a perfect way for them to end their season and their Syracuse career ?? playing in their final game in an SU uniform in the Texas Bowl.??
The Orange and Gophers met in 2012 in front of more than 50,000 fans in Minnesota, with the Orange falling 17-10. In that game, current players Jerome Smith and Prince-Tyson Gulley combined for 105 yards on the ground, while Jarrod West had 5 receptions for 56 yards as well. On defense, Dyshawn Davis had 9 tackles.
This season, Minnesota employs two different quarterbacks, Philip Nelson and Mitch Leidner. In 10 games, Nelson has 9 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, completeing a little over 51 percent of his passes. Leidner has one touchdown and one interception, completing about 57 percent of his passes. The Gophers leading rusher is David Cobb, who has 1111 yards and 7 touchdowns in 12 games. The two quarterbacks are next, with Leidner picking up 383 yards and 7 touchdowns and Nelson with 350 yards and 6 touchdowns on the ground this season.
Minnesota lost last season's Texas Bowl to Texas Tech 34-21.
So it's Syracuse vs. Minnesota in the Texas Bowl in Houston on December 27th on ESPN, with kickoff slated for 6:00 p.m. Stay tuned to CNY Central on-air and online for all of the coverage leading up to the Orange's 3rd bowl game in 4 years.