Kill: Invite back to Texas Bowl 'great opportunity' for Gophers

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 9, 2013 - 6:45 AM

But this year the Gophers will be playing Syracuse and trying to cap off a successful year with victory No. 9.

hide

Minnesota Gophers head football coach Jerry Kill held a press conference Sunday night to discuss details of the Gophers upcoming Texas Bowl game.

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

It’s the same bowl as last year, with a new name, but at least the Gophers will face a different opponent, and at least it’s another chance to make this a nine-win season.

That’s how the Gophers took Sunday’s news that they’d fallen to the bottom of the Big Ten’s bowl pecking order and were heading back to Houston, this time to face Syracuse on Dec. 27 in the Texas Bowl.

That game was known as the Meineke Car Care Bowl last year, when the Gophers came in as 13-point underdogs against Texas Tech and blew a seven-point lead in a 34-31 defeat.

“I look at it as a great opportunity,” Gophers coach Jerry Kill said. “We have a great opportunity to compete and continue to make history as a team. Winning nine games is important to us. Winning a bowl game’s important to us.”

The Gophers (8-4) have won nine games in a season just once since 1905. That came in 2003, when they finished 10-3 under Glen Mason. They are 0-5 in their past five bowl games, with their last victory coming over Alabama in the 2004 Music City Bowl.

Minnesota should be favored against Syracuse (6-6), which finished 4-4 this year in its first season in the ACC. The Gophers defeated the Orange 17-10 last year at TCF Bank Stadium.

Under new coach Scott Shafer, Syracuse opened this season with losses to Penn State and Northwestern. In conference play, the Orange defeated North Carolina State, Maryland and Wake Forest before squeaking into a bowl game by defeating Boston College 34-31.

Syracuse didn’t allow an opposing rusher to gain more than 100 yards in a game.

“It’s great motivation to prepare and take on the challenge head-on.” said Gophers running back David Cobb, who had six games of more than 100 yards this season.

The Texas Bowl has a tie-in to the Big 12, and many projections had the Gophers playing Texas Tech again in Houston. But when the Big 12 landed two teams in BCS bowls —Baylor and Oklahoma — it moved other teams up, with Texas Tech going to the Holiday Bowl.

With no other bowl-eligible teams from the Big 12, the Texas Bowl got to pick from another conference.

As Kill noted, the Gophers were fortunate to reach Houston last year. They were 6-6 but climbed the Big Ten’s pecking order because Penn State and Ohio State were not bowl-eligible.

“So we really keep moving up, if you really take a look at it,” Kill said. “I look at it as a tremendous positive for recruiting.”

Still, the Gophers had lobbied to get into the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl (Dec. 28 in Tempe, Ariz.) and Gator Bowl (Jan. 1 in Jacksonville, Fla.). But those bowls got to pick ahead of the Texas Bowl.

The Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl chose Michigan even though the Wolverines are 7-5. And the Gator Bowl chose Nebraska (8-4) even though its game against Georgia will be a rematch of last year’s Capital One Bowl.

It’s all about selling tickets, and Michigan and Nebraska’s fan bases traditionally travel to bowl games in far greater numbers than Gophers fans.

“If people feel that way, then we can go into this game with a chip on our shoulder,” Gophers senior Brock Vereen said. “And make sure people know for next year that this team is to be taken seriously.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Portland 0 Postponed
Brooklyn 0
Sacramento 0 Postponed
New York 0
Philadelphia 74 FINAL
New Orleans 99
Minnesota 84 FINAL
Oklahoma City 92
Orlando 94 FINAL
Memphis 103
Boston 99 FINAL
Utah 90
Denver 98 FINAL
LA Clippers 102
Army 68 FINAL
American Univ 66
Wright State 64 FINAL
Detroit 53
Syracuse 83 FINAL
North Carolina 93
Cleveland State 56 FINAL
Oakland 59
Delaware State 54 FINAL
NC Central 55
High Point 63 FINAL
Presbyterian 54
Howard 45 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 42
Coppin State 84 FINAL
NC A&T 71
Nicholls 51 FINAL
Northwestern St 80
Hampton 56 FINAL
SC State 65
Gardner-Webb 59 FINAL
Campbell 78
MD-Eastern Shore 72 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Stephen F Austin 82 FINAL
Lamar 65
Central Arkansas 67 FINAL
New Orleans 87
Norfolk State 70 FINAL
Savannah State 54
TX A&M-CC 70 FINAL
SE Louisiana 61
Sam Houston St 80 FINAL
Abilene Christian 63
McNeese State 84 FINAL
Incarnate Word 86
Milwaukee 48 FINAL
Valparaiso 73
Alcorn State 66 FINAL
Alabama A&M 78
Southern U 59 FINAL
Alabama State 63
Prairie View 68 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 105
Texas 86 FINAL
Iowa State 89
Texas Southern 85 FINAL
Miss Valley St 84
Long Island 85 FINAL
Bryant 88
Central Conn St 51 FINAL
St Francis-NY 49
Fairleigh Dickinson 0 Postponed
Sacred Heart 0
St Francis-PA 87 FINAL
Wagner 74
Delaware State 59 FINAL
NC Central 66
Howard 53 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 61
Coppin State 49 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 88 FINAL
SC State 53
Norfolk State 54 FINAL
Savannah State 56
MD-Eastern Shore 54 FINAL
Florida A&M 64
Angelo State 55 FINAL
Abilene Christian 70
Samford 32 FINAL
(25) Chattanooga 49
Prairie View 83 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 66
Alcorn State 58 FINAL
Alabama A&M 55
Southern U 53 FINAL
Alabama State 49
Texas Southern 63 FINAL
Miss Valley St 52
(12) Texas A&M 61 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 79
Robert Morris 68 FINAL
Mount St Marys 44
East Tenn St 72 FINAL
Mercer 70
Wofford 56 FINAL
Furman 58
Morehead St 64 FINAL
Tenn Tech 54
Illinois 57 FINAL
Michigan 70
Quinnipiac 0 Postponed
Manhattan 0
Saint Peters 0 Postponed
Rider 0
(18) Miss State 59 FINAL
Auburn 48
(15) Nebraska 72 FINAL
(20) Iowa 78
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Do you favor the plan for expanded athletic facilities at the U of M?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close