Estime Sparks Winning Score

Syracuse got a huge play from a true freshman on special teams to spark the game winning touchdown.

Syracuse needed a spark. The Orange were trailing 17-14 in a Texas Bowl they had largely controlled over the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The defense got a critical stop to give the offense one last shot.

The return game had been an area of weakness for Syracuse all season. Ritchy Desir, while solid catching the ball as a punt returner, offered little in terms of big play ability. So Scott Shafer decided to insert true freshman speedster Brisly Estime.

Estime caught the Peter Mortell punt at his own 16-yard line. He looked at the Minnesota coverage team sprinting downfield towards him and noticed a crease just to his right. He sprinted towards the hole and burst into the open field.

He outran a couple more Gopher would-be tacklers until he was ultimately cut off at the Minnesota 14-yard line. A 70-yard punt return. An unlikely big play on special teams, one Syracuse has not gotten out of the return game all year, put them in prime position with less than two minutes remaining.

Three plays later, Terrel Hunt was running into the end zone for what would prove to be the game winning score.

Not a bad bowl debut for the true freshman receiver, who was also Syracuse's leading receiver with five catches and 47-yards. Estime gives the Orange that elite level edge speed that they need to compete in the ACC.

Even better news for Syracuse is that has three more years to refine his skills.

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