How tough is the Syracuse run defense? One Heisman finalist knows


We outlined after the Gopher football team's bowl announcement yesterday how their game with Syracuse Dec. 27 is a something-has-to-give matchup.

The Orange haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher the entire season, and as any maroon and gold fan knows, the Gophers only means of effective offense comes on the ground, as they ranked 34th in the nation in rushing this year averaging over 200 yards per game.

How can we be so confident that Minnesota will look to run the ball and avoid the pass at all costs? They ranked 116th of 125 FBS teams through the air this year. Not so good.

While we know how good the Gopher ground game can be, just how good is Syracuse run defense? One Heisman finalist might have the answer.

Boston College running back Andre Williams, who led the nation in rushing this year, was announced as one of six Heisman Trophy finalists today along with Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, Florida State's Jameis Winston, Northern Illinois' Jordan Lynch, Alabama's A.J. McCarron, and Auburn running back Tre Mason.

Williams put up an absurd 2,102 yards and 17 touchdowns for the Golden Eagles, and 926 yards in the final four games of the season for BC.

The last of those games came against Syracuse, who beat Boston College 34-31 to become bowl eligible and head to the Houston to face the Gophers on a positive note.

One of the keys to the Orange coming out victorious? Shutting down Williams.

Syracuse held the nation's leading rusher to just 29 yards in the first half before Williams had to exit the contest with a shoulder injury on his first carry of the third-quarter.

Williams would not return and is questionable for BC's bowl game against Arizona, though head coach Steve Addazio said he will play in the Golden Eagles postseason matchup with the Wildcats.

Perhaps even more impressive than shutting down Williams is the Orange list of opponents, which include No. 1 Florida State and No. 12 Clemson.

Despite being blown out by the two powerhouses, Syracuse D would not give up over more than 80 yards rushing to any one player.

Add the tough run D of Syracuse to Minnesota's offensive struggles late in the season against tough competition, and Minnesota fans can't love the ground game's outlook going to Houston.

Next Up

ballot voting vote

Appeals court changes rules for MN absentee ballots received after Election Day

Pending a further challenge, votes received after 8 p.m. on Election Day may not be counted.

Donald Trump

Confusion over where Trump campaign rally will be held Friday

It sounds like it'll be held at the airport in Rochester.

Screen Shot 2020-10-29 at 3.19.05 PM

This video of the Lowry Hill Tunnel walls being cleaned is oddly satisfying

The tunnel will be closed overnight Thursday for cleaning.

gray wolf

Gray wolf removed from the endangered species list

A decision on whether they can be hunted in Minnesota will come later.

covid saliva test

Minnesota opening its 7th saliva testing location in St. Paul

The tests are free and open to anyone regardless of if they have symptoms.

pete stauber - qunn nystrom CD8

Election 2020 preview: Minnesota's 8th Congressional District

It's a race between incumbent Rep. Pete Stauber and Democratic challenger Quinn Nystrom.

fire, flames

Lives saved as passerby, city workers rescue from 3 from Golden Valley fire

The Golden Valley Fire Department responded to the fire Wednesday morning.

Caribou Coffee Holiday 2020

Caribou Coffee rolls out holiday cups, menu early

The holiday season is underway at some Twin Cities stores, with a nationwide rollout planned for Nov. 5.

Malik Beasley

Charges: Timberwolves' Beasley pointed assault rifle at family on a home tour

The family was on the Parade of Homes tour when Beasley allegedly pointed the gun at them, telling them to get off his property.