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Dr. Saturday

After losing an 11-point lead, Syracuse scores late to beat Minnesota 21-17

Nick Bromberg
Dr. Saturday

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(USA Today Sports Images)

This is another dagger in the heart of the momentum theory in college football.

Thanks to a Brisly Estime 70-yard punt return, Syracuse quarterback Terrel Hunt scrambled in from 12 yards out with 1:14 left to give the Orange a 21-17 win over the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

If you believed in momentum, you would have thought that it was all in favor of Minnesota before Estime's return. And before it was in Minnesota's favor, you would have thought that it was squarely in Syracuse's corner.

After being sluggish, inept, ineffective and whatever other adjective of the same ilk you would like to to use, Minnesota's offense finally awakened in the fourth quarter after the Orange had gone up 14-3. Perhaps it was because quarterback Mitch Leidner was able to find -- and take advantage of -- spots downfield in Syracuse's pass defense. Within a span of 2:30 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, Leidner found Maxx Williams for a 20-yard touchdown and Drew Wolitarsky for a 55-yard touchdown to give Minnesota a 17-14 lead.

And following those scores, Syracuse couldn't do anything of note and punted three times. However, Estime made it mighty easy for the Orange offense when Minnesota had to punt with 2:03 remaining. His return put the Orange at the Minnesota 14-yardline and Hunt punched it in when he escaped a Minnesota blitz on third down.

The Gophers had a final chance, but on the penultimate play of the game, a bomb from Leidner slipped through Wolitarsky's hands in the end zone thanks to a distracting wave from Brandon Reddish.

Minnesota coach Jerry Kill, who has been coaching in the press box since his return from a medical leave of absence due to epilepsy, moved down to the sidelines in the second half after Minnesota trailed at halftime 7-3.

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Nick Bromberg is the assistant editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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