Coming off the high that was the Boston College victory, running back Jerome Smith had a quiet confidence about Syracuse's chances of going bowling. He knew that the Orange had done its job, accomplishing its end of the bargain with six wins. It was now just about the preparation process, continuing with its normal regimen.
"We still had to run and lift as it we were going to a bowl game," Smith said. "Coaches were doing their thing and the players stay and handle business here. We were just waiting. We did our part to get six wins. We just waited for the chips to fall."
Syracuse will face Minnesota, an opponent it lost to last season, 10-17, in the Texas Bowl down in Houston.
"It's all football," Smith said about not focusing on schoolwork. "It's a blessing just to make it to a bowl game and have this opportunity to sit back with the guys for another few weeks instead of going home after classes are over. It feels good to be able stay around each other for a little bit longer."
Smith stated that instead of going home for Christmas and spending time with his immediate family, he will be savoring each moment with his extended family, those football brothers of his.
When asked about getting some kind of revenge on the Gophers, Smith smiled before he answered the question at hand.
"Just a little bit," Smith said. "We want to get at them for what we didn't finish while we were there (last season). We'll have our chance coming up."
He continued, "We have a really good defense that hasn't given up a 100-yard rusher all year, so good luck to them. We're going up against a Big Ten team and anytime you go against the Big Ten, the defensive linemen are bigger, the linebackers are a little bit bigger, so we just have to do our part, stay the course and we'll be fine."
A win would put the team over .500, something that would work wonders according to Smith.
"It helps a lot," Smith said. "It helps a lot when you end up with a win. It will keep the team's confidence up heading into the offseason."
Although Smith announced earlier last week (after meeting with the media) that he has decided to enter the NFL draft, he stated that Syracuse is a football program that people should be paying attention to in the coming years.
"We are a team on the rise," Smith said. "We're definitely working at things and definitely getting better each week. We had a few stumbles on the way but it should be exciting for the future of our team. It's a good team."
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