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            === Hunt's late TD run lifts Syracuse over Minnesota ===
 
 Houston,  TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Terrel Hunt's 12-yard touchdown run late in
 the  fourth quarter -- his second of the game -- propelled Syracuse to a 21-17
 victory over Minnesota in the Texas Bowl.
 
 Hunt passed for 188 yards on 19-of-29 efficiency and rushed for 74 yards on 15
 carries  for the Orange  (7-6), who have won five of their last six postseason
 appearances.
 
 "We just appreciate the opportunity to come to Houston, Texas, and be part of
 the Lone Star State for a few days. At the end of the whole deal, just really
 excited and proud of our kids at Syracuse," Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer
 said.
 
 Jerome  Smith added 74 yards and a score on 16 rushes, while Brisly Estime led
 the  receiving  corps with  47 yards  on five  catches but  posted a long punt
 return which led to the winning TD.
 
 Mitch Leidner finished 11-of-22 for 205 yards and a pair of touchdowns for the
 Gophers  (8-5).  Philip Nelson  got  the  start  but  was pulled  early  after
 completing just two of his seven attempts for 18 yards.
 
 "They out executed us. I always say the game comes down to execution and
 players. Their kids did a better job executing than we did. I feel bad for our
 kids and certainly our seniors. They really moved our program forward and we
 continued to grow from last year to this year," said Minnesota coach Jerry
 Kill. "We just need to continue to improve. Certainly, the loss is very
 disappointing. I feel bad for our kids, but again I congratulate Syracuse.
 With that, I will take questions."
 
 Drew  Wolitarsky  and Maxx  Williams each  posted a TD  grab, while David Cobb
 racked up 91 yards on 18 carries in defeat.
 
 The  Gophers closed their  gap to 14-9 on the first snap of the fourth quarter
 when  Leidner  connected with Williams on  a 20-yard score, but the conversion
 pass failed.
 
 Syracuse  went  three-and-out, and Minnesota took  a 17-14 edge on the ensuing
 series.  On 2nd-and-8 from his own 45, Leidner launched a ball down the middle
 and Wolitarsky came up with it for a 55-yard TD. Leidner's conversion pass was
 successful to Mike Henry with 12:34 on the clock.
 
 A 70-yard punt return from Estime gave Syracuse possession on the Gophers' 14-
 yard line with 2:03 remaining. Prince-Tyson Gulley gained seven yards on first
 down but was stopped for no gain on the subsequent play. On 3rd-and-3 from the
 Minnesota  7-yard  line it became 3rd-and-8  thanks to a false start, but Hunt
 managed  to rescue  a broken  play and  rush up  the middle  for the  go-ahead
 touchdown with 1:14 to play.
 
 "I think it gave coach (George) McDonald a little more flexibility," Shafer
 said.
 
 Leidner  converted one fourth-down play to Williams, a 16-yard grab, which got
 his  team  to midfield,  then hit  Williams once  more on  a 3rd-and-17 to the
 Syracuse  40  with 12 seconds left.  A spike on  first down preceded a pair of
 incompletions,  as Leidner's  first heave to the end zone fell incomplete, and
 his final toss was tapped out of bounds as time expired.
 
 Despite  failing to  convert a fake field-goal attempt and not moving the ball
 well  otherwise in  the first  quarter, Syracuse  picked up  the game's  first
 points on a 1-yard run by Smith just under five minutes into the second.
 
 Minnesota didn't answer until the final play of the half, as Chris Hawthorne's
 41-yard make capped a quick drive.
 
 The  Orange headed to  the fourth with a 14-3 edge, after Hunt finished off an
 86-yard  march  on the  15th play by  calling his own  number and rolling five
 yards to paydirt.
 
                                   Game Notes
 
 Minnesota had won three of the four previous meetings with Syracuse, including
 a  17-10 decision  in Minneapolis last year ... Syracuse improved to 15-9-1 in
 bowl  competition, while  Minnesota fell  to 5-11  after dropping  their sixth
 straight  since  a win  in the 2004  Music City Bowl  ... Williams caught five
 balls  for  76 yards, while  Wolitarsky led all Gophers  with 94 yards on four
 receptions.
 
 12/28 00:47:29 ET

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