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Syracuse accepts invitation to play in Texas Bowl

By SU ATHLETICS

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - The Syracuse football team will play Minnesota in the 2013 Texas Bowl. The Orange will square off against the Gophers on December 27 at Reliant Stadium in Houston. It will be the 25th bowl game for Syracuse and the third in four years.

“It is great to see an ACC-Big Ten matchup in a terrific bowl game,” said Syracuse Head Coach Scott Shafer. “I couldn’t be happier for our senior class to have the opportunity to go to Texas and play a Big Ten school. One of the things I have enjoyed the most about this season is our seniors. They are tough kids who never give in. This is a perfect way for them to end their season and their Syracuse career – playing in their final game in an SU uniform in the Texas Bowl.”

This will be Syracuse’s first trip to the Texas Bowl, which was founded in 2006, and the second bowl game in the state of Texas for Syracuse. The Orange beat the University of Texas, 23-14, in the 1960 Cotton Bowl.

“We are thrilled and honored to be selected for the Texas Bowl,” said Director of Athletics Dr. Daryl Gross. “This reward for Coach Shafer, his staff and the hard-working student-athletes was earned through desire and dedication in the building of our football program. We look forward to the great experience that awaits all in the Syracuse family in Houston."

Syracuse has played Minnesota four times and the Gophers lead the series 3-1. The Orange prevailed in the first meeting, but has lost the last three, including a 17-10 setback at Minnesota in 2012.

Syracuse is 6-6 overall and finished with a 4-4 conference record in its first year in the ACC. The Orange tied Boston College for third place in the Atlantic Division, finishing behind only #1 Florida State and 12th ranked Clemson. Syracuse features the ACC’s fourth-ranked rushing attack (193.8 yards per game), led by All-ACC Third Team selection Jerome Smith who is averaging 70 yards per game on the ground. Smith has 12 total touchdowns, including 11 rushing scores.

Sophomore Durell Eskridge and seniors Jay Bromley and Marquis Spruill spearhead an aggressive Orange defense that ranks 19th nationally in tackles for loss per game (7.3) and is tied for 23rd in sacks (2.75 per game).  An All-ACC Third Team performer, Eskridge leads the team in tackles (78) and interceptions (4). Bromley, who also received All-ACC Third Team honors, has 38 stops, including 12.5 for a loss and a squad-best nine sacks. Spruill was an honorable mention All-ACC choice. He has 62 tackles, including a team-best 13.5 for a loss.

Minnesota is 8-4 in 2013, including 4-4 in the Big Ten. Quarterback Phillip Nelson led the Gophers offensive attack, completing 92-of-179 passes for 1,288 yards and nine touchdowns, while David Cobb paced the ground game with 1,111 yards on 219 carries and seven touchdowns and Derrick Engel caught 25 passes for 401 yards and five touchdowns to lead the receivers. On the defensive side, Damien Wilson paced the Gophers with 70 tackles, including 41 solo.

Syracuse has a rich bowl history. The Orange owns a 14-9-1 postseason record and won seven straight bowl games from 1988 to 1996. Currently, SU is riding a two-game bowl winning streak, having won the 2010 and 2012 New Era Pinstripe Bowls against Kansas State and West Virginia, respectively.

 

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