The Minnesota Golden Gophers put together a strong 2013 campaign that saw them post an 8-4 record and stay competitive in the Big Ten race until late in the season. Now, Minnesota makes a return trip to the Texas Bowl where they will take on the Syracuse Orange on December 27. This time around, they’re looking to take the next step and win the bowl, giving themselves a nice push into 2014 where they could even start the year ranked in the top 25. For the Gophers to come out on top in this game, running back David Cobb must carry the load on offense.
On the season, Cobb carried the ball 219 times for Minnesota gaining 1,111 yards at an average clip of 5.07 yards per carry and found the endzone seven times. He’s developed into a workhorse for the Gophers this season, carrying the ball 20-times or more in six games this season and eclipsing the 100-yard mark in each of those six games. Cobb has rushed for 100-yards or more in five of the last six games for Minnesota as he has stepped up as a leader of the offensive charge in 2013.
Against the Orange, the game will be decided by which side gets their running game on track. Syracuse will try to control the pace with their own workhorse back in Jerome Smith, who will be playing in his final game for the Orange. Minnesota has to keep the Syracuse offense on the sideline with their own running game, however, and finish drive with points to get the Orange out of their comfort zone and throwing the football. To do so, Cobb has to find his rhythm early against the Syracuse run defense which ranked No. 4 in the ACC this season, allowing 139.67 yards per game.
Cobb will be the key to Minnesota controlling the flow of the game and getting Syracuse out of their comfort zone. If the Gophers can get on track early, they’ll be able to dictate how the game plays out and walk away with a huge bowl victory for the program.