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Fizz Five: Predictions for Syracuse vs. Minnesota in the Texas Bowl

via Nunes Magician

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Today is a day Orange Nation may not have expected.

Syracuse plays Minnesota in the Texas Bowl in Houston at 6:00 p.m. EST, and it comes as a little bit of a surprise. Entering this season, there were many new things: a new coaching staff, new quarterback, new conference.
After the loss to Northwestern, a bowl game seemed out of reach. Some coaches stress the importance of play on the field and the physical toughness to win games. Scott Shafer was about that, but even more, he stressed the importance of being emotionally strong and tough. He used the term “hard-nosed” to describe numerous players on his team. That’s what got the team to this game.
Hard-nosed got the team to the bowl game. Syracuse has had nearly a month off, but it’s important to keep the same mentality in the Texas Bowl as it was during the regular season. After the 34-31 win over BC on November 30, Syracuse has confidence going into this game. Although Minnesota is 8-4, it struggled against ranked opponents. The Golden Gophers beat Northwestern and Penn State, both games Syracuse lost, but with Drew Allen under center. The team looked good and bad at times. We’ll see if they can get it done one more time.
Our entire staff has made predictions for this game. Check them out below.

Kevin Fitzgerald: 
It won’t be the prettiest bowl game, but Syracuse will get by a depleted Gophers offense to win its third consecutive bowl game in just four years. Minnesota ended the season with two disaster losses against Michigan State and Wisconsin, two teams that are stout against the run. RB David Cobb has really been the only source of offense for Head Coach Jerry Kill this season. The Orange boasts the 26th best run defense in the country, and will be blitzing sophomore QB Philip Nelson all evening. Terrel Hunt will pass and run for a score, and lead SU to a Texas Bowl victory.
Syracuse 24, Minnesota 16
Brendan Glasheen:
I really felt SU’s loss to Pittsburgh to fall to 5-6 on the year ended this team’s hopes to go bowling. The Orange proved once again it has strong resiliency and grit with the W over BC. Jerome Smith plays big in his final game as a Syracuse player and will outrun Minnesota’s David Cobb. It’ll be close and Shafer wills his men to victory.
Syracuse 23, Minnesota 21
Austin Pollack:
The BC game did wonders for this team. Early on in the season, it didn’t look like this team had what it took to make it to a bowl game. The 6-6 Orange head into the Texas Bowl with momentum after the win against BC, and success in the early stages of the Scott Shafer era. Jerome Smith, along with the seniors, want to finish their Syracuse careers on a high note. The team has won three bowl games in its last three bowl games. The key is the defense. If Terrel Hunt and the offense can continue to put some impressive numbers on the board, Syracuse has a chance.
Syracuse 31, Minnesota 17
Zephan Mayell:
The running games of both teams will dictate who comes out on top. Jerome Smith is going into the game knowing it will be his last as a member of the Orange. Minnesota’s ground game has been good all season but the Orange run defense has been better, not allowing a 100-yard rusher this season. The game being located in Texas is huge for recruiting. The Lone Star State is a hotbed of talent and an area Syracuse has not recruited from regularly. I see the Orange taking this game from the Golden Gophers late by a field goal.
Syracuse 24, Minnesota 21
Seth Goldberg:
The Orange’s defense has not allowed a 100 yard rusher all year, and that could continue in the bowl even though it will be a tough task. The extra month of practice should have allowed Terrel Hunt to improve more and build off his best performance of the season against BC. With it being Jerome Smith’s last game, he might get a few more carries than he typically would and it may give Smith an outside chance to reach 1,000 yards for a second straight year. The Orange win in a close one, pushing them over .500 and winning a bowl for the third time in four years.
Syracuse 20, Minnesota 14
The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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