Orange leave Gophers blue
Terrel Hunt scrambled 12 yards for a touchdown with 1:14 remaining to lift Syracuse to a 21-17 win over Minnesota in the Texas Bowl in Houston on Friday night.
Brisly Estime set up Hunt's touchdown with a 70-yard punt return. Estime would have scored if not for a tackle by punter Peter Mortell. It was the second-longest punt return in Texas Bowl history.
Syracuse (7-6) led 14-3 entering the fourth quarter before Mitch Leidner threw two touchdown passes and a 2-point conversion to put the Golden Gophers up 17-14.
After the Orange regained the lead, Minnesota attempted two long passes to the end zone on the final plays. The first slipped through the arms of Drew Wolitarsky and the final Hail Mary as time expired was knocked down near the end zone.
Minnesota (8-5) got a boost to start the second half when coach Jerry Kill returned to the sideline for the first time since Sept. 28 before Syracuse rallied for the victory.
Hunt finished with 188 yards passing and 74 rushing with two scores.
Leidner finished with 205 yards passing, Maxx Williams had five receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown and Wolitarsky had 94 yards receiving and a score.
Kill began the Texas Bowl from the press box where he has observed his team since returning from a leave of absence because of his epilepsy. Kill has had five seizures on game day in his two-plus seasons with the Golden Gophers. He took the leave of absence in October and returned a couple of weeks later.
Syracuse attempted a 45-yard field goal with about 3 ½ minutes left, but it sailed wide right. Robert Welsh sacked Leidner on third down on the next drive to force a punt and set up the winning drive.
Marshall 31, Maryland 20: Rakeem Cato threw for 337 yards and three touchdowns, and Marshall used two fourth-quarter scores to rally past Maryland in the Military Bowl in Annapolis, Md.
The Thundering Herd (10-4) trailed 20-17 before Cato brought them back. After directing a 63-yard march to put Marshall up 24-20 with 12:05 left, Cato clinched it with an 8-yard touchdown throw to Gator Hoskins with 3:42 to play. Cato completed 28 of 44 passes — with no interceptions — to help Marshall reach double digits in wins for the first time since 2002.
Maryland (7-6) scored only one touchdown after halftime, and A.J. Leggett followed Cato's final TD pass with an interception to set off a celebration among the huge gathering of Marshall fans among the crowd of 30,163. Brandon Ross rushed for 116 yards for Maryland, and C.J. Brown went 14 for 24 for 197 yards.
Making its first bowl appearance under third-year coach Randy Edsall, Maryland closed out its association with the Atlantic Coast Conference by falling to the runner-up in Conference USA. The Terrapins will join the Big Ten next year.