FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sunday, December 8, 2013
MINNESOTA AND SYRACUSE ACCEPT BIDS TO PLAY IN TEXAS BOWL
HOUSTON – The University of Minnesota and Syracuse University have accepted bids to play in the 2013 Texas Bowl, the bowl organizing committee announced today. The Orange will fill the Big 12 position as an at-large bid representing the Atlantic Coast Conference, while the Golden Gophers will represent the Big Ten Conference. The 2013 Texas Bowl will be played on Friday, Dec. 27 at 5 p.m. CST and will be televised nationally on ESPN.
"We are excited to welcome Minnesota, Syracuse and all of their fans to our community," said Texas Bowl president Jamey Rootes. "We look forward to another great bowl week and Texas Bowl game on December 27."
Syracuse and Minnesota have met four times previously with the most recent game last season, a 17-10 victory by Minnesota. The Golden Gophers lead the all-time series 3-1. The teams met for the first time in 1995 with Syracuse winning 27-17. The last three meetings between the teams have all been decided by a touchdown or less.
Ticket prices range from $30-115 and may be purchased online at http://thetexasbowl.com or http://www.ticketmaster.com, on the phone at 832-667-2390 or in person at the Reliant Stadium box office inside Budweiser Plaza. The Bowl has already sold more than 42,000 tickets through renewals, Bowl Backer packages, pre-sales and team allotments. For information on luxury suites call 832-667-2160.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers finished the regular season with an 8-4 record (4-4 Big Ten) and qualified for a bowl game for the second straight year under third-year coach Jerry Kill. It will mark the second Texas Bowl appearance for the Golden Gophers, who lost 34-31 to Texas Tech last Dec. 28. The Gophers, who were 3-9 two years ago and finished 6-7 last year, have turned into one of the best stories in college football. Minnesota was universally picked to finish last in its division in Big Ten play, but began the season 4-0 before dropping conference affairs to Iowa and Michigan. A bye week after the Michigan loss provided some time to heal physically and prepare mentally for the rest of the season. Minnesota then won four straight Big Ten games for the first time since 1973. Included in the streak were wins against traditional powers Nebraska and Penn State. The Gophers ended a 16-game losing streak to the Huskers and claimed the Governor's Victory Bell from the Nittany Lions. The Maroon and Gold then ended its season against ranked foes Wisconsin and Michigan State. Minnesota finished 2013 with its best record since it won 10 games in 2003. This is the seventh eight-win season for the Gophers since 1960 and their 18th eight-win season overall.
"We are excited to return to Houston to play in the Texas Bowl. We enjoyed our experience last year and wish we could have come away with a victory," said Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill. "The hospitality from the bowl committee, local support staffs and area college football fans was second to none. I know our players – especially the 12 from Texas – welcome the opportunity to represent the University of Minnesota in a state that has great football tradition. Our fans, who have been tremendous at home and on the road all year, are excited as well and are ready to support the Gophers in Houston at 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.
"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."
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 top-ranked 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.
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.
The Texas Bowl has been a tremendous success both on and off the field over its first seven years. The bowl has generated an average of $30 million per year for the Houston economy and has over 25,000 season ticket holders. The game has averaged more than 63,000 fans in its seven-year history, including a crowd of 50,386 for last year's game between Texas Tech and Minnesota. Away from the field, the Texas Bowl has donated nearly $600,000 to date and more than $12 million in promotional support and publicity to DePelchin Children's Center, the Bowl's official charitable beneficiary.