The Texas Bowl matchup of Syracuse and Minnesota may not be the sexiest of the bowl season, but if you like a grind-it-out, rush-heavy contest, this is your game. Both teams have mobile but iffy passers at quarterback, and they probably will try to lean on their rushing attacks as much as they can.
And that could prove the deciding factor in what Vegas expects to be a close one. That might be bad news for Minnesota, which is allowing 4.5 yards per carry and 5.7 yards per play. Syracuse's defense hasn't been significantly better overall (5.4 yards allowed per play), but it is limiting opponents to 3.9 yards per carry.
Rankings and records: Syracuse comes in at 6-6 (4-4 in the ACC); Minnesota finished the regular season 8-4 (4-4 in the Big Ten). Neither team is ranked. The Gophers hold a 3-1 edge in the all-time series.
Vegas: Minnesota opened as a 4.5-point favorite, while the over/under opened at 46.
Weather: The high is expected to hit the low 60s.
Three names to know
Terrel Hunt -- The first-year starter has had his moments -- a five-touchdown effort against Tulane being one of them -- but he's also had his share of struggles throwing the ball, understandably. He's thrown eight interceptions in 244 attempts, which is a ratio he'll need to improve on going forward. He is a legitimate threat to run the ball, with 426 yards on 92 carries.
David Cobb -- Cobb is over 1,100 yards on the ground despite Minnesota's passing game problems, which is impressive. He's averaging 5.1 yards per carry and has scored seven touchdowns.
Jerome Smith -- Smith leads the Orange with 840 yards rushing and 11 rushing touchdowns. He won't match his production from a season ago, but in fairness, he's also getting fewer carries per game this season.
Two things at stake
Syracuse's move to the ACC was coupled by a coaching change, which could have been a troublesome combination. Instead, the Orange acquitted themselves well, and they can assure their second consecutive winning season by defeating the Gophers.
The Gophers have made steady progress under Jerry Kill, and they already have their highest win total since 2003. A victory here would be a nice cap to the year, especially considering that the Gophers come in on a two-game losing streak.
How to witness
TV: ESPN, 6 p.m. ET