Neither team dominated the other in any aspect of the game. It was one of those games that comes down to a late scoring drive to determine the outcome and that’s exactly what happened in the Texas Bowl on Friday night.
Syracuse’s Brisly Estime returned a punt for 70 yards to the Minnesota 14-yard line with less than two minutes left. It resulted in a 12-yard run by quarterback Terrel Hunt for a touchdown to put the Orange up 21-17. That touchdown ended up being the winning score for Syracuse since Mitch Leidner could not put a scoring drive together in the final 1:14 of the game to get the win for Minnesota.
The matchup of Minnesota and Syracuse was a great one. They finished the game within 50 total yards of each other and their time of possession was almost equal as well. The same goes for first downs, total plays and turnovers. They were like the mirror images of one another statistically, but that late touchdown by Syracuse made all the difference in the end.
Minnesota surprised many with their eight-win season in 2013. They could have even won the Legends Division of the Big Ten in a wild scenario that involved the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Michigan State Spartans both losing their last couple games of the season. One of the losses for the Spartans would have had to come against Minnesota in East Lansing in the last week of the season, but the Golden Gophers were not able to pull out the win. They were glad to be given the opportunity to go to a bowl game and try to finish their season with a win.
Sadly, they were not able to put together a late, game-winning scoring drive against Syracuse. They should still be proud of the great season they had this year and hope that next year is even better.