While they won the game on the stat sheet, Syracuse came up short on the scoreboard, dropping the Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl to Minnesota, 28-20. The Orange (8-5) piled up over twice as many yards as the Gophers (9-4), but a Garrett Shrader interception was returned 70 yards for a Minnesota touchdown midway through the third quarter, giving them enough of a cushion to hold on for the win.
SU dominated in the second half except in points scored. They outgained the Gophers after halftime, 294-49, running 55 plays to just 14. In addition to the pick-six, field position played a dramatic role as Syracuse started the average drive at their own 22 in the second half while Minnesota started every drive at their own 35 or better, including their only scoring drive of the half at the Orange 25.
The Gophers broke into the scoring column first, getting a touchdown run from four yards out three plays into the second quarter for a 7-0 lead. They scored again on their next possession, making it two straight nine-play, 62-yard drives for touchdowns. This time, Minnesota scored on a 20-yard pass to extend their lead to 14-0 with 6:39 left in the first half.
SU nearly doubled their yardage on their last possession of the half, zipping 86 yards down the field in five plays with no time outs, although they benefited from a pair of officials’ reviews for clock stoppages. Shrader scrambled in from a yard out for the touchdown with eight seconds on the clock. Andre Szmyt’s conversion made it a 14-7 game at half.
Szmyt knocked three more points off the deficit less than five minutes out of the break with a 40-yard field goal. The Syracuse defense forced a three-and-out on the next Gopher possession, but Shrader was picked off on the fourth play of the ensuing drive, and the interception was taken to the house. The quick change pushed the Minnesota lead to 21-10 with 7:22 left in the third quarter.
The Orange answered with another scoring drive, bogging down and settling for a 38-yard field goal from Szmyt to pull within eight. The Gophers got a 72-yard return of the ensuing kickoff and scored a touchdown two plays later, pushing their lead to 28-13 just before the end of the third.
Two drives later, SU got into the end zone again on Shrader’s second touchdown scramble of the game. Szmyt booted the extra point with 2:30 left to make it a 28-20 game. Minnesota recovered the ensuing kickoff and were able to run out the clock with some help from an unsportsmanlike conduct flag against Elijah Clark after the Syracuse defense got a third down stop.
Shrader was mostly effective, but a little inaccurate at times, finishing 32-of-51 for 330 yards with an interception, adding 45 yards and two scores on the ground. DeVaughn Cooper finished his SU career with seven grabs for 114 yards and Oronde Gadsden II also had seven catches good for 78 yards. In his first start, LeQuint Allen picked up 94 yards on 15 carries while also setting an Orange record for receptions in a bowl game with 11 for 60 yards.
Kadin Bailey and Kevin Jobity, Jr. each recorded a sack for the Orange defense. Justin Barron paced the unit with seven tackles, including two for loss.