Syracuse shook off a slow start in snowy Yankee Stadium on Saturday afternoon in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl before eventually pulling away from the West Virginia Mountaineers in the second half on the way to a 38-14 Orange victory. Syracuse has now won two of the three Pinstripe Bowls played, earning the Orange the George M. Steinbrenner Trophy on both occasions.
Early-season Heisman candidate Geno Smith had a rough day for the Mountaineers in his college finale, giving up two safeties in the game and throwing for jsut 187 yards.
Saturday's contest was the 60th meeting between the former Big East rivals. The Orange extended their slim lead in the series to 33-27, and have won the three matchups between the two teams.
Box Score Hero: This honor goes to the player with the best name on the field, Prince-Tyson Gulley. 265 total yards and three touchdowns on the day in a winter wonderland.
But Did They Cover? West Virginia entered the game as a 3.5-point favorite, fell behind 12-0 early, and then saw Syracuse slowly pull away.
The first half saw some uncharacteristic defense from both teams, perhaps aided in part by the snowy conditions. Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib took a hard shot courtesy of Terence Garvin, with Geno Smith of the Mountaineers being clobbered just a few minutes later. Smith's takedown resulted in the first of two safeties on the day for the Orange defense.
Syracuse led just 12-7 at halftime, but the Orange offense exploded for 23 points in the third quarter, thanks to Nassib and running back Prince-Tyson Gulley. Nassib finished the game a pedestrian 12 of 24 passing for 127 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception. Gulley dominated the West Virginia defense, gaining 215 yards on 26 carries, and also catching five balls for 50 yards.
For More On This Game: Head over to The Smoking Musket and SB Nation Pittsburgh for additional information on West Virginia. For more on Syracuse, be sure to visit Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and SB Nation New York.