|Prince-Tyson Gulley rushed for 215 yards in the win over West Virginia. (US Presswire)|
SYRACUSE WON: Prince-Tyson Gulley rushed for a career-high 215 yards and scored three touchdowns as Syracuse (8-5) rolled over West Virginia (7-6) 38-14 in the Pinstripe Bowl held in Yankee Stadium on Saturday. Gulley, a junior running back, ripped off touchdown runs of 67 and 33 yards and also added another score on a 10-yard pass from quarterback Ryan Nassib. Jerome Smith added 158 yards rushing as the Orange piled up 376 yards on the ground. Syracuse used a decisive 23-point third quarter to key the comfortable win, outgaining West Virginia 514 to 285 along the way. Mountaineers quarterback Geno Smith threw for 185 yards and two touchdowns, both to Stedman Bailey, who caught six passes for 120 yards. However, Smith was twice sacked for a safety. The game was played in snow flurries, causing some general sloppiness on both sides. West Virginia had 10 penalties and was 0-for-9 on third-down conversions, while Syracuse had two turnovers. The Orange now lead the overall series with West Virginia 33-27.
WHY SYRACUSE WON: In a setting hampered by snow and cold, the power running game of Syracuse carried the day. The usually pass-happy Orange offense was kept under wraps as Nassib attempted just 24 passes (he averaged 37 on the year) and the duo of Smith and Gulley took over. The strategy worked, as Syracuse rushed for 376 yards and held the ball for more than 36 minutes while pounding the West Virginia defense into submission.
WHEN SYRACUSE WON: A relatively close 12-7 game at halftime was blown open in the third quarter as the Orange scored 23 points to put the game on ice. The opening drive in the second half was critical, as Syracuse went 80 yards in 10 plays to go ahead by 12. But the most crucial juncture came with about 7:30 left in the third quarter. Nassib was intercepted by Isaiah Bruce at the Syracuse 25-yard line, but the Orange got the ball back on the very next play as Smith was stripped of the ball by Brandon Sharpe. Syracuse recovered and, one play later, Gulley was off to the races for a 67-yard touchdown. Game essentially over.
WHAT SYRACUSE WON: The Orange won six of seven to close out the season and will leave the Big East for the ACC on a high note. It was also a great way for Nassib to close out his career.
WHAT WEST VIRGINIA LOST: A once-promising season came to a pitiful end as the Mountaineers failed to rekindle their September magic. With Smith and Bailey headed to the NFL, this is a program with some huge question marks heading into the offseason.