By: Aj Mansour | KFAN.com
Minneapolis, MN - When history repeats itself sometimes the outcome can be good. Unfortunately for Jerry Kill and the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Friday night, sometimes the outcome is bad.
Having lost to Texas Tech a year ago on a late game score in the Texas Bowl, Kill and his team returned to Houston for another go at it, this time against the Syracuse Orangemen. Entering the game as 4.5 point favorites, the common thought was that this was going to result in the Gophers first bowl win since Glen Mason and their first nine win season under head coach Jerry Kill. Unfortunately for all involved, those grand thoughts were thwarted when Syracuse returned a punt 70-yards and Orange quarterback Terrell Hunt scampered into the endzone for a 12-yard touchdown. The score pushed Syracuse ahead of the Gophers by a score of 21-17 with 1:14 left on the clock.
Minnesota did have a chance to fight back near the end, but it was too little too late and the Gophers fell for the second straight season in the Texas Bowl.
"We had too many mental errors at critical times," head coach Jerry Kill told KFAN after the game. "We had a chance to sack the quarterback, we had a chance to make a play and end the game and we had a few linemen problems...the game comes down to 8 or 9 plays, they made them and we didn't."
Minnesota tried their hands with two quarterbacks Friday night after starter Philip Nelson went largely ineffective in the first half.
Mitch Leidner did awaken the Gophers offense in the second half leading Minnesota to two touchdowns and a 17-14 lead but it was a fantastic 57-yard punt, that quite literally out kicked the coverage, that allowed Syracuse an opening.
"I thought we got back into a rhythm in the second half," Kill continued. "They made a play or two and got themselves back in it. We didn't make enough plays to get the win."
It will go down as a memorable season for Kill and the Gophers who finish the year at 8-5 but the bad taste left from last night's game will likely linger for far too long.
"It's tough because I feel bad for our seniors," Kill explained to KFAN. "They don't get a second chance on it. Everybody else gets to come back and do it [again]. It's disappointing for all of us."
Listen to Coach Kil's full interview with KFAN in the player below...