Minnesota Gophers’ 6th Straight Bowl Game Victory Comes at the Pinstripe Bowl in N.Y.C

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Drew Pellin, Contributor

The Minnesota Gophers faced off against the Syracuse Orange in the Pinstripe Bowl, in a highly-anticipated matchup between two talented teams. The game was held at Yankee Stadium in New York City, with the Gophers coming out on top with a final score of 28-20, making it a bittersweet end to college careers for Tanner Morgan and Mohamed Ibrahim.As all Bowl games go, it concludes the playing careers for many student athletes as they move into their career.

“I will say that I couldn’t be more proud of these seniors. They’ve given a lot to this program on and off the field. They’ve represented Minnesota in a first-class fashion, and they should be really proud.” ”

— Head Coach, PJ Fleck

 

The Gophers’ win marks a significant achievement for the team, as it was their sixth straight bowl victory. The team, led by Head Coach P.J. Fleck, has been working hard to bring a winning culture to the University of Minnesota, and with a nine-win season on the line, this victory is a testament to the culture Fleck brought to Minnesota. 

 

The game was a high-scoring affair, with both teams putting up impressive offensive numbers. Early in the second quarter, Gophers’ redshirt freshman quarterback, Athan Kaliakanis was helped off the field with a lower leg injury. Tanner Morgan was inserted into the game and the Gophers’ offense was able to move the ball effectively. Morgan only threw the ball seven times, resulting in two touchdowns to Daniel Jackson. 

 

Superstar Runningback, Mo Ibrahim, wrote himself in the history books in the Pinstripe Bowl. Ibrahim scored his 20th rushing touchdown of the season, reaching the Gophers’ single-season touchdown record. He also beat David Cobb’s previous rush yards in a season record and Darrell Thompson’s all time rush yard record. 

 

Ibrahim will be missed from all his teammates and coaches, but Tanner Morgan had very high praise for Ibrahim saying, “I would like to say I think his number should be retired, Mr. Coyle and President Gabel. That’s my personal opinion. Ring of honor, whatever it’s called, retirement. I don’t think anybody should ever wear the No. 24 again at this university because of what he has meant to the culture, to the team, but his impact as a person, which is greater than any record he has ever set.”

 

The Gophers’ defense also played a crucial role in the win, holding the Orange to only 20 points and making key stops throughout the game. Linebackers Mariano Sori-Marin and Cody Lindenberg were especially impressive, making 21 combined tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. The biggest defensive play came in the third quarter, as freshman cornerback, Coleman Bryson, returned a 70-yard pick-six to put the Gophers up 21-10. 

 

The Orange kept fighting despite missing many key players. With a banged-up defense, it was impressive to see Syracuse not let the Gophers get comfortable. Orange quarterback, Garrett Shrader, finished the evening with 330 yards, 45 rushing yards, and two touchdowns. After a promising start of their season going 6-0, Syracuse finished 7-6, but has a promising future ahead of them. 

The Gophers’ win in the Pinstripe Bowl is a major milestone for the team, and it is sure to boost morale and confidence heading into the next season. 

 

“Could have went either way. Just really glad it came out the way it did for us,” said Fleck after the win. “Couldn’t be more proud of our players. Couldn’t be — especially for our senior class. This senior class has, basically, three full seasons in a row won 11 games, 9 games, 9 games. That hasn’t happened since 1900 through 1905.” With a young, strong, team and dedicated coaching staff, the Gophers are poised for even more success in the future.