Teams: Syracuse Orange (7-5, 4-4) vs. Minnesota Gophers (8-4, 5-4)
Day & Time: Thursday, December 29, 2:00 pm
Location: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, N.Y.
Line: The Draftkings Line has moved further away from Syracuse as the Orange are now 9.5 point underdogs.
TV/Streaming: ESPN, WatchESPN, Sling TV
Radio: Cuse.com, TK 99/105, WAER 88.3, ESPN Radio
Minnesota Blog: The Daily Gopher
Rivalry: 3-2, Minnesota
Current Streak: 1, Syracuse
First Meeting: A Marvin Harrison 94-yard punt return kickstarted the Orange offense and empowered the Orange defense in the first ever meeting between Syracuse and Minnesota in the Carrier Dome on September 23, 1995. The Orange caused three Minnesota turnovers while Harrison set new career highs in receptions and yards with eight and 184 respectively as Syracuse won 27-17.
Last Meeting: Minnesota scored twice within three minutes to start the fourth quarter as the Orange and Gophers tangled in the 2013 Texas Bowl. The Gophers used that quick scoring to claw back an 11-point deficit and lead by three, but a 70-yard Brisly Estime punt return with 2:03 left in the game set up Syracuse in the red zone. Terrel Hunt ran in a 12-yard touchdown to put Syracuse up for good as the Orange won 21-17.
Head Coaches: Syracuse - Dino Babers (seventh year, 36-48) | Minnesota - P.J. Fleck (sixth year, 43-27)
Coach Bio: Phillip John Fleck played college football at Northern Illinois as a wide receiver and punt returner. He ranks in the top five in many receiving and returning career categories at Northern Illinois. Fleck spent two years in the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the San Francisco 49ers before injuries ended his pro career. He immediately went into coaching and started as a graduate assistant with Ohio State before becoming a wide receivers coach with Northern Illinois, Rutgers, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Fleck’s first head coaching job came with Western Michigan in 2013. After a 1-11 record in his first season, the Broncos rattled off three straight winning records under Fleck. That included a 13-1 campaign in 2016 which included a MAC title and a Cotton Bowl appearance against Wisconsin. Fleck’s success with Western Michigan led him to take the Minnesota head coach job starting in 2017. The Gophers have made four bowls in six seasons under Fleck, including an 11-2 record in 2019.
Last Year: Shocking losses to Bowling Green and Illinois put a bit of a stain on the 2021 season for Minnesota, but the Gophers salvaged the campaign with a 8-4 regular season record, culminating in a win over No. 14 Wisconsin to reclaim Paul Bunyan’s Axe. Minnesota capped off the year with a Guaranteed Rate Bowl win over West Virginia.
Last Game: A 45-yard touchdown from Athan Kaliakmanis to Le’Meke Brockington gave Minnesota a lead with 3:40 left against Wisconsin in Madison. The Badgers had the ball at the Minnesota five-yard line towards the end of the game but Wisconsin penalties pushed the Badgers out of the red zone. That allowed the Gophers to hold on for a 23-16 win to retain Paul Bunyan’s Axe for the second straight year.
“Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: Mohamed Ibrahim has already set multiple offensive records at Minnesota and looks to add to his collection in his final game with the Gophers. He needs 32 rushing yards to set the single-season record and 57 rushing yards to set the career record.
If Syracuse Wins: New York’s College Team returns to the Yankee Stadium advertisements (#BRAND).
If Syracuse Loses: Syracuse has to help fund Arson Judge’s contract.
Fun Fact: Syracuse is on a four-game winning streak in bowls, which started with the 2010 Pinstripe Bowl. The Orange continued with victories in the 2012 Pinstripe Bowl, 2013 Texas Bowl and the 2018 Camping World Bowl.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.