Game Recap: WVU vs. Syracuse in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Game Recap: WVU vs. Syracuse in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl

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Michael Ploger -

The West Virginia Mountaineers struggle to stop the Syracuse Orange for the third year in a row, leading to a loss in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, 38-14.

This was the 60th meeting between the two squads, Syracuse continues to lead the series, 33-27.

Penalties held West Virginia (7-6) back the entire night.  From electrifying plays called back, or unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, the group wrangled up 10 penalties for 104 total yards.

The team also struggled to convert on necessary third or fourth downs.  They were 0-10 on thirds downs, and 0-2 on fourth down tries.

Syracuse (8-5) earned the victory through the ground game, which tore apart the Mountaineers defense.  The Orange tallied 378 yards on the ground, with the majority coming from junior, Prince-Tyson Gulley.

A slow start for the Mountaineers haunted the team in the first thirty minutes.  The team struggled to catch the ball in the wet and freezing conditions, having three dropped passes in the first quarter alone.

Penalties and a lack of electric plays kept the team looking ordinary.  The group had six penalties tallying 70 yards in the first half.  An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Quinton Spain pushed the team back 15-yards during a drive when the Mountaineers could have gained a lead.

West Virginia trailed just 12-7 by the end of the first half.

In the second half, Syracuse scored on their opening possession, and they wouldn't look back.  Prince-Tyson Gulley would take control of the game on the ground in route to his three touchdowns on the evening.  He finished with 215 yards rushing.

The Orange forced two safeties in the game, one in each half.  The second came on an intentional grounding penalty after Geno Smith was tripped to the ground by a Syracuse player.  It was the first time a team has had two safeties in a game since September of 2009.

By the end of the contest, snow covered the Yankee Stadium grass as the Orange celebrated their bowl victory.

This was the final time several Mountaineers will represent the old gold and blue for West Virginia.  Quarterback Geno Smith ended his stellar career for the Mountaineers with 187-yards through the air on 16 of 24 passing and two touchdowns.

Stedman Bailey surpassed 100-yards receiving for the 14th time in his career, a school record.  He caught two touchdown passes from Smith, and had 122-yards receiving.

First team All-American Tavon Austin was as electrifying as always, although several of his plays were called back by penalties.  He walked off the field for a final time with 182 total yards on the ground.

For Syracuse, it's the second New Era Pinstripe Bowl victory in three years.

The 2012 season for both teams has now come to a close.  Syracuse heads into the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) next season.  Meanwhile, West Virginia will strive to compete in their second season with the Big 12.

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