Syracuse will play West Virginia in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, Dec. 29 at 3:15 p.m. Here is a scouting report for the game:
BLINK AND YOU MAY MISS IT: There is plenty of anticipation around the high-powered offenses of Kansas State and Oregon playing each other the Fiesta Bowl. But outside of that game, will be there be any more exciting game than the Pinstripe Bowl? In its last three games, Syracuse has averaged 38 points a game, while West Virginia finished 7th in the nation with 41.6 points per game, and was 6th overall in its passing attack at 340.9 yards a game. The Mountaineers will also be looking for revenge, as the Orange have clipped them in the last two games they’ve played. Last year, in West Virginia’s final season in the Big East, SU upset the then-No. 15 team in the country at the Carrier Dome, 49-23. At media day on Wednesday, each of the Mountaineer players on hand said they still had that defeat fresh on their minds.
SCOUTING THE MOUNTAINEERS: Geno Smith was the runaway favorite for the Heisman Trophy early in the season, and though the Mountaineers came back to earth after their torrid start, Smith still put up gaudy numbers. He finished the regular season sixth in the nation with 346 yards of total offense a game, and threw 40 touchdowns to just 6 interceptions. Many of those passes were to Stedman Bailey, who was virtually unstoppable in his last four games. During that stretch, he averaged more than 10 catches and 165 yards a game. Look out for Stedman in the running game as well, as he’s used in a jet-sweep package with devastating results.
HISTORICALLY SPEAKING: Prior to 2012, the two teams had met each year since 1955 and began competing for the Ben Schwartzwalder Trophy in 1993. West Virginia ranks 14th all-time in victories with 708, with the Orange at 15th all-time with 697. Since the teams started playing each other in 1945, the Orange has gone 32-27 against the Mountaineers, and has won the last two meetings.
GAME INFORMATION: Saturday, Dec. 29, at 3:15 p.m. at Yankee Stadium in Bronx, NY. TV: ESPN.Wesley Cheng