New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Syracuse vs. West Virginia
Syracuse embarrassed the Orange Bowl-champion Mountaineers in a Friday night game last season, but the former conference foes will meet again in the Bronx at Yankee Stadium for the Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 29.
West Virginia rose to No. 5 after a 5-0 start, but fell to the Big 12′s No. 7 bowl tie-in after a five-game losing streak. Year 1 in the Big 12 didn’t go as planned for the Mountaineers, but the defense will be tested by an underrated Syracuse offense that led the Big East.
This year marks the third annual bowl game at Yankee Stadium. For Syracuse, it will be their second appearance in the bowl, having defeated the Kansas State Wildcats, 36-34, in the inaugural New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium in 2010. In that contest, running back Delone Carter earned New Era Pinstripe Bowl Most Valuable Player honors after rushing for a career-high 198 yards on 27 carries and scoring two touchdowns, while receiver Marcus Sales caught five passes for 172 yards and three touchdowns. Quarterback Ryan Nassib completed 13-of-21 passes for 239 yards and three touchdowns. Last year, Rutgers University defeated Iowa State, 27-13.
West Virginia went 7-5 in 2012, under second-year head coach Dana Holgorsen, in its first season in the Big 12. The Mountaineers scored at least 31 points in 10 of their 12 games this season, ranking seventh in the country with 41.6 points per game. This marks their 11th straight bowl appearance.
West Virginia’s high-powered offense is led by quarterback Geno Smith, who at one point was a Heisman favorite. Junior receiver Stedman Bailey was one of three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award, after leading the nation with 23 receiving touchdowns. Fellow receiver and 2012 All-American Tavon Austin is second in the nation in all-purpose yardage and has scored four different ways in 2012 — three rushing touchdowns, 12 receiving, one by punt return and one by kickoff return, becoming the first player in West Virginia history to accomplish the feat.
Syracuse will offer a test for the lousy WVU defense. The Orange led the Big East in total offense by more than 40 yards per game and boast a 3,500-yard passer in Nassib and a 1,000-yard rusher in Jerome Smith. Can WVU’s defense get some redemption in its final outing of the season?
Syracuse leads the all-time series vs. West Virginia, 32-27, winning the last two meetings after eight straight Mountaineer wins from 2002-09.
WagerWeb.com opening odds: WVU -4 (73.5). Check our current lines
WagerWeb.com trends: Mountaineers are 3-7 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. Mountaineers are 5-12-1 ATS in their last 18 games following a SU win of more than 20 points. Mountaineers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games. Mountaineers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games after accumulating more than 450 total yards in their previous game. Orange are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall. Orange are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games after accumulating more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game. Orange are 4-9 ATS in their last 13 games following a S.U. win. Underdog is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 meetings. Road team is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 meetings.