NEW YORK — A quick take on Syracuse’s 28-20 loss against Minnesota Thursday afternoon in the Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl, on a sunny and seasonable late December day in front of an announced crowd of 31,131 at Yankee Stadium:
WHAT HAPPENED: In the 12th all-time Pinstripe Bowl game, and the third involving Syracuse, the Orange had their bowl game winning streak snapped at four dating back to 2010, as two Minnesota touchdowns in the third quarter tilted the game. The Gophers jumped out to a 14-0 lead before SU scored late in the second quarter to trail 14-7 at halftime. In the pivotal third quarter Syracuse (7-6) could only muster two Andre Szmyt field goals (40 and 38 yards), while Minnesota (9-4) scored on a 70 yard interception return by Coleman Bryson of a Garrett Shrader pass, and a 25 yard scoring strike from Tanner Morgan to Daniel Jackson (two TD receptions on the day). That score followed a 72 yard kickoff return by UM’s Quentin Redding. Syracuse scored the only points in the fourth quarter to make it a one score game with 2:30 to play, but a costly unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Alijah Clark allowed Minnesota to run out the clock. After starting 6-0, SU dropped six of its final seven games of the 2022 season.
ANALYSIS: Down 14-10 and driving midway in the third quarter, the game completely turned when Minnesota’s Bryson stepped in front of Shrader’s pass intended for Oronde Gadsden II on an out route and returned the pick 70 yards for a score to put the Gophers up 21-10, and it seemed to take the air out of any ‘Cuse comeback. Despite outgaining Minnesota by a large 465-208 margin in total yardage, Syracuse was just 7-of-15 on third down conversions, stalling out on several potential opportunities to score more points, along with a costly turnover. Shrader had an uneven game with 47 pass attempts (31 completions for 292 yards) and scoring both SU touchdowns. One bright spot was running back LeQuint Allen who gained 94 yards replacing the absent Sean Tucker, and caught 11 passes.
HERO: Minnesota quarterback Morgan, the winningest starting quarterback in school history, relieved this game’s starter, Athan Kaliakmanis who was injured in the second quarter, and without gaudy stats steadily guided UM to the victory. Morgan either handed off to Mohamed Ibrahim (71 yards rushing and a TD) or contributed with his two scoring passes to Jackson.
ZERO: The special teams units had a tough afternoon. Kicker Brady Denaburg’s failure to nail his kickoffs for touchbacks hurt on both an out-of-bounds kick, then the 72 yard return by Redding. Punter Max Von Marburg kicked for just a 28.5 yard average on his four punts, shanking two of them out of bounds that gave Minnesota great field position.
WHAT’S NEXT: The off season. Syracuse will begin preparations for the 2023 campaign, the eighth season under Dino Babers, with the early transfer portal period ending between January 4-7, followed by winter workouts and the late recruiting signing period commencing on February 1. That will be followed by spring practice in March, then the late transfer portal period between May 1-15. The 2023 season opener is September 2 versus Colgate in the Dome.