Syracuse (6-6) vs. Minnesota (8-4), 6 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Line: Minnesota by 4.
Series Record: Minnesota leads 3-1.
WHAT'S AT STAKE
A win would give Minnesota nine wins for the first time since 2003 and the eighth time overall and end a five-game bowl losing streak. Syracuse has won two bowl games in the past three years, and a victory over Minnesota would give the Orange a winning record for the third time in four years.
The Syracuse defense against Minnesota RB David Cobb. Cobb ranked sixth in the Big Ten in rushing with 1,111 yards, including six 100-yard games. Syracuse is the only FBS team not to allow a 100-yard rusher this season. The Orange defense shut down Boston College's Andre Williams, the nation's leading rusher and a Heisman Trophy finalist, in the regular-season finale Nov. 30, holding him to 29 yards on nine carries before he left in the third quarter with an injury. Williams entered the game averaging 188.5 yards per game and 6.5 per carry. The Orange have limited five opponents this season to under 100 yards rushing, including three of the last five.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
SYRACUSE: QB Terrel Hunt. The sophomore began the season as the backup to Oklahoma transfer Drew Allen, then took over as the starter after Allen endured two bad games. Since then, Hunt's season has been a roller-coaster ride that has included a run of seven scoreless quarters. Still, Hunt ranks second on the team in rushing with 426 yards and has accounted for 15 TDs (10 passing and five rushing) to go with eight interceptions. His last INT came against Boston College with under 3 minutes to play and Syracuse behind, but he rallied the Orange to a 34-31 victory with a touchdown pass to tight end Josh Parris with 6 seconds remaining, finishing with career highs of 270 yards passing and 360 yards of total offense — 1 yard more than the Eagles as a team.
MINNESOTA: QBs Philip Nelson and Mitch Leidner. The Gophers employ a two-quarterback system. Nelson leads the team with 1,288 yards passing with nine touchdowns, and Leidner has thrown for 414 yards and another score. They also both like to run, with Leidner rushing for 383 yards and seven touchdowns and Nelson adding 350 yards rushing with six more scores.
FACTS & FIGURES: Syracuse has had trouble controlling its emotions and temper this season. The Orange rank 112th in the country with 7.5 penalties a game and 107th with 62.58 penalty yards per game. ... Minnesota ranks 13th nationally with 4.08 penalties per game and 10th in penalty yards with 33.67. ... The Syracuse defense ranks 19th in the FBS in tackles for loss per game at 7.3. The Orange have recorded 87 stops behind the line of scrimmage for a loss of 400 yards and also are tied for 22nd in the country in sacks at 2.75 per game, with tackle Jay Bromley the leader at nine. ... The Texas Bowl will be Minnesota's 16th bowl appearance and the 25th for Syracuse.