Previewing the Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl: Minnesota vs. Syracuse
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This is the preview for the Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl
Date: Thursday, Dec. 29, 2:00 p.m. ET
Yankee Stadium (Bronx, NY)
Betting splits: 57% of handle, 41% of bets on Minnesota -10
Two of the nation’s top running backs were set for a showdown at Yankee Stadium. but only one will play, and that’s why Minnesota is a double-digit favorite. The Golden Gophers will have Mohamed Ibrahim on the field for his final college game. A sixth-year senior, Ibrahim has rushed for 1,594 yards and 19 touchdowns, and he ranks second in the nation with 144 rushing yards per game. The bad news for Syracuse came from star Sean Tucker, who announced he’s skipping the bowl and preparing for the NFL Draft. Tucker rushed for 1,496 yards in 2021 and 1,060 yards and 11 touchdowns this season, so he will be missed by an Orange team that started 6-0 before losing five of six.
Minnesota won four of its final five games, and included in that stretch were a couple of sensational individual performances. Athan Kaliakmanis passed for 319 yards and two touchdowns in a 23-16 win at Wisconsin, a week after Ibrahim rushed for 263 yards in a loss to Iowa. Kaliakmanis is young and inconsistent, but the Gophers know they can count on Ibrahim and their defense. Minnesota ranks fourth in the nation in scoring defense (13.3 PPG) and allowed 16 points or fewer in nine of 12 games. Only Penn State, Purdue and Illinois hit the 20-point mark against the Gophers. Syracuse quarterback Garrett Shrader is a running and passing threat, but he will be asked to do a lot without Tucker against an elite defense.
Syracuse is playing in its first bowl since 2018, and the location favors the Orange, but the team faded badly late in the season, and Tucker’s absence compounds the problems. The Gophers are probably too strong for Syracuse on both sides of the ball. Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck is a great motivator, too, and he’s 3-0 in bowl games with the Gophers. This is probably a spot to play the favorite (-9 is the best number available) and look UNDER the total of 42. — Matt Youmans
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