In the Big Apple, West Virginia laid a big egg against an old rival from the Big East.

Syracuse played power football on the snow-frosted field at Yankee Stadium, burying WVU 38-14 at the Pinstripe Bowl. Prince-Tyson Gulley ran for a career-high 208 yards and Jerome Smith added 157 as the Orange (8-5) ran for 369 total, averaging 5.7 yards per carry.

“Our lineman came out to play. They opened up a lot of good holes and made it easy for me and Jerome to pick where we were going.” – Syracuse running back Prince-Tyson Gulley.

WVU (7-6), which closed the regular season with a modest two-game winning streak, couldn’t carry that momentum into the postseason. In his final college game, Geno Smith threw two touchdowns to Stedman Bailey, but he was sacked twice for safeties, lost a fumble on a blind-side hit in Syracuse territory and threw for just 197 yards on 16-of-24 passing.

“It hurts to lose,” Smith said. “I wanted to win this one, especially for the 21 seniors who battled with me for four years, but unfortunately we didn’t get the job done.”

Syracuse senior Ryan Nassib, Smith’s counterpart in what was billed as a passing shootout, finished only 12-of-24 for 127 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. But he didn’t need his best day with the Orange’s running game eclipsing 300 yards for the first time in seven seasons.

“No one ran it on us all year long, so I was shocked that they were able to line it up and run it straight at us,” said West Virginia’s newly promoted defensive coordinator Keith Patterson. “It’s kind of hard to explain.

“We were trying to sink a safety down in the box. There was times we’d fit up air-tight and the next thing you know, they split us. I’m sitting there kind of perplexed, because honestly I thought we’d be able to stop them from running the football.”

The Orange ran 90 plays to WVU’s 61, winning their third straight over the Mountaineers, who netted only 88 yards on 37 carries.

“The seniors, especially, we wanted to come out here and get into a fist-fight with them,” said WVU’s Jeff Braun, who moved from guard to center last week following the academic suspension of fellow senior Joe Madsen. “We knew it was going to be a tough, physical game. We just weren’t on the right side of it.”

Syracuse opened the second half with an 80-yard drive, going up 19-7 on Nassib’s 10-yard touchdown pass to tight end Beckett Wales. (Read more about this and other decisive plays here.)

Gulley helped the Orange stretch the cushion with a 67-yard touchdown run and a 9-yard scoring catch.

“Our lineman came out to play,” said Gulley, who became the Orange’s first 200-yard rusher since 2004. “They opened up a lot of good holes and made it easy for me and Jerome to pick where we were going.”

“No one ran it on us all year long, so I was shocked that they were able to line it up and run it straight at us. … I’m sitting there kind of perplexed, because honestly I thought we’d be able to stop them from running the football.” — West Virginia’s newly promoted defensive coordinator Keith Patterson

After five scoreless possessions, West Virginia’s offense generated some momentum late in the second quarter. Bailey’s rugged 32-yard catch-and-run capped a six-play, 69-yard drive that drew the Mountaineers to within 12-7.

WVU’s defense made an atypical goal-line stand in the second quarter, with Will Clarke and Darwin Cook combining to stop Jerome Smith on a fourth down inside the 1. But on the next snap, the Orange sacked Smith in the back of the end zone for a 5-0 lead.

After the free kick, Syracuse sliced through WVU, with Gulley racing 33 yards untouched to stretch the lead to 12-0.

Syracuse scored first on Ross Krautman’s 25-yard field goal, but it came only after Alec Lemon had a would-be touchdown pass ricochet off his shoulder pad at the goal line.

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Comments

  • Oh Did Ya?

    Wow - are we a "what have you done for me lately" crowd or what....Dana was the greatest thing since sliced bread after we dropped 70 on Clemson 1 year ago. His offense tallied up dozens of records this year. No doubt the defense has to improve but get a grip people. This was a very exciting year. Although they were losses, the TCU and Oklahoma games were some of the best games played on Mountaineer Field. I'd much rather watch one point losses to those teams than boring Big East snoozefests every week. Mix in some patience people - the program is on the rise.

    • tyrone

      "Big East snooze fest"..???... By looks of todays results WVU had little to offer the big east. All WVU got out of Hoggerson is an over paid offensive coordinator posing as head coach

      • Oh Did Ya?

        Oh yea I forgot we destroyed Syracuse 2 years ago at home under Stew. Nope - lost 19-14. 19-14 losses to Syracuse are by definition snoozefests. The entire Big 12 schedule has been exciting....disappointing defense but exciting nonetheless.

        • tyrone

          The 2012 season did add a new componet for the sports gambler. Inaddition to the win lose, spread , and over under, you could bet on what quarter the network was going to pull the game off the air - LMFAO

        • robert thomas

          there is an old saying.offense sells tickets.defense wins football games.
          your offense can't score if it doesn't get the football.

  • Allen

    See ya Dana. Don't let the door hit ya on your way out. Call Rich Rod quick!

  • larrydc

    geno if your going to talk the talk then walk the walk

  • Bryan

    Geno once agian showed he can't play with pressure. Now that most of the players of the past are gone I for one expect us to be better, Holgerson and new qb will make a distant memory on Geno.

  • JIM

    YOU CAN SAY ALL YOU WANT ABOUT A YOUNG ,YOUNG DEFENSE, BUT AFTER A FULL SEASON AND 3 WEEKS TO GET BETTER FOR THIS GAME WE NEED NEW
    DEFENSIVE PERSONAL...NOW!

  • larrydc

    geno if your going to talk the talk then walk the walk

  • Jack

    I know both teams had to play in the bad weather, but I don't understand why they have a bowl game in areas where you know the weather conditions are going to be blizzard like this time of the year. The conditions truly favored the ground game of Syracuse. I also noticed that the officials for this game were the same ones that officiated the Sugar Bowl game and they called so many penalties.

  • Chalkdust

    This was without a doubt the most embarrassing game I ever watched. It was the worse game ever :
    Coached
    Played
    Defensive game plan
    officiated
    offensive game plan
    thoughtless

    Mr. Luck.....If your idea in playing this game was exposure of the brand in the Northeast, I believe we came out on the short end of the stick. Mien Got man.... someone tell your coaching staff this is not Texas... it is cold, rainy and it sometimes snows. get ready to run the ball. Ill-prepared, young players committ fouls like our young men did.

  • Joe

    Boy what an egg! This game epitomizes the toughness of this team. WVU did not want to be in this bowl, it showed in their body language from the outset. I do not see things improving, this was a team loaded with offensive talent and obviously no defensive talent plus a group of guys thrown together in a coaching staff that is not prepared for the big time. Individually they may excel in other environments, but collectively they don't measure up. The defensive staff is woeful, and I know that the coaches don't make plays.. the talent is lacking and things don't look bright on the horizon. Now what about our offense next season, I suspect it too will be offensive.

  • DonaldH

    I know many of the faithful are feeling quite down over the lowest mark many of us can recall over the last 25-30 years—but look on the bright side,, with Dana and Huggs in Morgantown beer sales are through the roof and with Luck now at the helm Mountaineer Field is now a beer joint that can seat 65,000..

    But on a more serious note, before this season I was never sold on Geno and just as I was beginning to admit to myself I was wrong about him,,, game six happened. I’m glad I don’t care much anymore.. RichRod--- call HOME..

  • Larry

    For a minute we were in with a great chance. Then the game started...

    I missed my prediction by 10 points. (Syracuse 45-31). I thought they would lose by 14, they lost by 24. I never felt WVU stood much of a chance of winning.

    As you know, I stated you only have to do 2 things to beat WVU…Throw the football and Blitz which is exactly what Syracuse did. Again, for the third straight year, WVU had no answers.

    WVU was completely outcoached, out physicaled and outplayed.

    Kinda brings a tear to yer eye don’t it?

    • Robert

      Well, actually they just ran the ball up our throat rather than throwing it. Other than that stupid screen pass that they ran a hundred times, and we just kind of watched them do it. Our defense was outcoached/outplayed, same for the offense, and the officiating hurt as well. I would hate to play in the PAC-12 if they have to put up with that all season long.

  • Kevin

    What a sad game. Who in the world would want to play in that mess?! It's a shame our big three had to go out on such a bad note. Yes, the PS Bowl was their reward for a five game losing streak, but that was ridiculous today. No question a different venue would have resulted in a better game. And I don't even want to get into the Pac12 officiating. Wow!

    Deep breath ......

    Thanks to Geno, Tavon and Stedman. You guys will be sorely missed next year but you give me a reason to watch football on Sundays next year. Good luck and be smart with the money.

  • garry

    not much different in the in D but I guess this coach did take this program to a different level as luck promised

  • david

    I canot beleive WVU got whipped so bad by a big east team - syracuse . this has got to be the low point in wvu football. bill stewart was never this BAD, should have kept him. he was a true mountaineer, Thoughts from mich . mountaineer forever

  • MORK

    WVU is horrible. I am embarrassed! Big East Cuse punks us again. We should hide our heads!