Syracuse stuns Minnesota 21-17 in Texas Bowl
Updated On: Dec 28 2013 03:19:44 AM CST
Syracuse 21, Minnesota 17: Shortly after a 70-yard punt return by Brisly Estime, Terrel Hunt scrambled up the middle for a 12-yard touchdown with 1:14 remaining as the Orange stunned the Golden Gophers in the Texas Bowl.
Hunt (19-of-29, 188 yards) ran for two touchdowns among his 74 rushing yards, tied for the team lead with Jerome Smith, who also ran for a score. The decisive carry by Hunt came on third-and-8 after Estime's punt return set up Syracuse (7-6) at the Minnesota 14 with 1:44 left.
Mitch Leidner was 11-of-22 for 205 yards for the Gophers (8-5), who were playing in the Texas Bowl for the second straight season following last year's 34-31 loss to Texas Tech. The Gophers, who have lost five straight bowl games since their last postseason win in 2004, were led in receiving by Drew Wolitarsky (94 yards and a touchdown), although the freshman had a heave into the end zone go right through his hands in the final seconds.
Syracuse led 14-3 entering the fourth quarter on the heels of two rushing touchdowns - a 1-yard plunge by Smith in the first quarter and a 5-yard scamper by Hunt late in the third - before Minnesota rallied to take the lead. Leidner found Maxx Williams from 20 yards out on the first play of the final period to make it 14-9 and while the Gophers failed on the two-point conversion, they made up for it less than three minutes later by scoring a touchdown on a 55-yard pass from Leidner to Wolitarsky and cashing in on the conversion pass to take a 17-14 advantage.
After the Orange retook the lead on Hunt's second score, Syracuse sacked Leidner twice on Minnesota's final drive. David Cobb rushed for 91 yards to pace the Gophers but fell just shy of becoming the first running back to reach 100 yards against the Orange defense this season.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Penalties were an issue for both teams as the Orange committed nine for 53 yards while the Gophers were flagged eight times for 65 yards. ... Syracuse has won five of its last six bowl games, although this was the Orange's first win in a postseason game other than the Pinstripe Bowl since 2001. ... Estime also led the Syracuse air attack with five receptions for 47 yards.