Syracuse and West Virginia tee it up once again at the Pinstripe Bowl and today we continue the tale of the tape. Yesterday we looked at the ground game.
Ryan Nassib and Geno Smith both have game management abilities along with the physical tools to make those game changing passes. Smith may run more, but Nassib has the ability to run when needed. He will stay in the pocket looking to unleash a long ball or pinpoint pass before he runs. That is good and bad all at once. They both average over 300 yards a game; Nassib (301.6) and Smith (333.7). These two cancel each other out so we’ll call it even.
The main man for each is record-setter Alec Lemon for SU and burner Tavon Austin. Each has a knack for getting a seam and making the play. SU would benefit greatly if they get another big bowl game from Marcus Sales as Austin’s counterpart Stedman Bailey averages 125 a game. I have to give the edge to the Mountaineers here.
This is the tough part; West Virginia played in a lot of games where it looks like they were trying to just out-score people instead of stopping them. Syracuse has found its groove in the season ending 5-1 run and is a tougher, more proven group. Scoring avg. tells the story. SU gave up 25.7, WV surrendered 38.1. Edge to the Orange.
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Syracuse has won 2 in a row over the Mountaineers. They lead the all-time series 32-27 and are SU’s 4th oldest rival. Syracuse is 6-1 at Yankee Stadium. Larry Csonka had the most rushing yards for Syracuse against WV on 11/13/1965 with 216 yds. on 26 carries.
These teams dislike each other, a lot. It has surfaced at the pressers and in the comments; they will both be smelling blood in the water when they kick-off. Syracuse losing LB Spruill for a half may be a killer. The offenses roar with Syracuse’s defense making it a winnable game. West Virginia’s special teams are big play capable and have done so this year. Syracuse has had problems on special teams (long returns given up and a returner that has taken 2 to the house coming to play) and are more prone to penalties. Syracuse finished hot and is on a roll, the defensive swarming to the ball gives up some big plays but makes enough; West Virginia gets a few long returns and gets TD on one of those.
West Virginia gets some revenge for the fans and pulls out a win at Yankee Stadium.
West Virginia 45 – Syracuse 34