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5 Reasons You’ll Want to Watch the Texas Bowl

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5 Reasons Why You'll Want to Watch the Texas Bowl

Donnell Kirkwood
Jesse Johnson - USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 Texas Bowl will find the 8-4 Minnesota Golden Gophers up against the ranks of the Syracuse University Orange at Houston's Reliant Stadium.

The Gophers, who are favored by 4.5 points, have lost their last five bowl games, and this will be the second consecutive bowl with head coach Jerry Kill, the first time being last year when it was called the Meineke Car Care Bowl when they barely lost at the last minute to Texas Tech, 31-28.

Syracuse barely made the cut for this postseason matchup after winning their final game of the season, but note that they have covered four of their last five bowl games.

Both teams are in the process of coming into their own, and are wanting to take things to the next level. Minnesota has pushed through this season as their head coach Kill has dealt with epilepsy and has been away from his team for a time. In spite of all this, the 8-4 Gophers have won their most games in a season since 2003. 6-6 Syracuse has a new head coach, Scott Shafer, and is in their third bowl in four years, though, after a shaky and somewhat awkward season, with a shakier and more awkward offense.

Also, both teams have impressive running games, but ultimately, Minnesota's defense, it's strong-suit, should have little issue with keeping Syracuse at bay. There will also be some engaging matchups to make for a fun game to watch.

Any way you slice it, this game, while not in a huge national spotlight, will be interesting to watch. Following are five reasons why. Let me know if you agree or not.

The Texas Bowl will be seen at 5 p.m. CST on Dec. 27. Don't miss it!

Jonathan W. Crowell is a writer and an online sports blogger for Rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @JW_Crowell, “like” him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.

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5. The Matchup Between Minnesota's D-Line and Syracuse's O-Line

Antonio Johnson, Adam Breneman, Cedric Thompson
Brad Rempel - USA TODAY Sports

Just like Minnesota, Syracuse will want to run the ball. Minnesota tackle Ra’Shede Hageman needs to maximize his disruptive skills so that the Orange can’t get any foothold in their running game. If Syracuse can manage to run, quarterback Terrel Hunt should have plenty of opportunity to pass the ball. He can also run. And if he’s able to throw well, the Orange's offensive game should do well. The Golden Gophers should be able to commit additional firepower to stop the run.

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4. Minnesota Can Make Tracks

Aaron Hill
Jesse Johnson - USA TODAY Sports

Whenever a team can run, it has a fighting chance. In every single one of the Minnesota's eight wins this year, their offense ran for more than 175 yards. The Gopher's running game may hit some snags against a Syracuse defense that’s No. 28 in the league in stopping the run.

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3. The Matchup Between David Cobb and Jay Bromley

David Cobb
Mike Carter - USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota running back David Cobb will matchup against Syracuse defensive tackle Jay Bromley. Minnesota will want to get everything they can out of Cobb, as he had a total of six 100-yard rushing games this season and is the team’s first 1,000-yard rusher in seven years. Bromley stood out when Syracuse was new as an ACC team. He is quick and will focus on stopping Cobb, who is a very physical athlete.

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2. Syracuse Safety Durell Eskridge

Durell Eskridge
Rich Barnes - USA TODAY Sports

The 6-foot-3, 198-pound sophomore from Miami, Eskridge has chalked up 78 tackles, four interceptions and two forced fumbles during his tenure. He is a valuable asset to the Syracuse defense.

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1. Syracuse Running Back Jerome Smith

Jerome Smith
Jesse Johson - USA TODAY Sports

In 38 games, Smith has to his credit 16 carries for 143 yards and one touchdown. The Minnesota defense will be focusing on him in the Texas Bowl.