WVU faces Syracuse in New Era Pinstripe Bowl
December 21, 2012 ·
It’s been an up and down season for the West Virginia University football team. After winning its first five games, the team lost the next five, before winning the final two. At 7-5, the Mountaineers are playing Syracuse University in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, in New York City.
The first year for the team in the Big 12 conference was somewhat frustrating, as the team gave up 457 points this season, and lost five games in a row to conference opponents. But back to back wins against the final two teams assured West Virginia of its 11th straight winning season, and 11th straight bowl game.
The game will be played at Yankee Stadium in New York City on December 29.
Dana Holgorsen is the head coach of WVU’s football team.
"I think we’re a lot better both from a coaching standpoint, from a scheme standpoint, from an understanding standpoint, we’re a lot better now than last year when we played Syracuse," said Holgorsen.
"We understand what we’re trying to do a lot better."
The game will also be the final time West Virginia stars Geno Smith, Tavon Austin, and Stedman Bailey play as Mountaineers.
Smith and Austin are seniors and Bailey is skipping his senior year to enter the National Football League Draft.
Smith says he feels he has accomplished a lot as a player, and wants to go out a winner.
"Being here in West Virginia has helped me grow into being a man, being responsible," said Geno Smith.
"I appreciate the coaching staff for giving me an opportunity to play here; I appreciate my teammates for giving me the opportunity to be a captain, and I just appreciate every moment I have with those guys around here, because it’s winding down. I’m going to miss those guys so much."
West Virginia and Syracuse are actually old rivals. Syracuse plays in the Big East conference, which was the same league WVU played in for many years.
WVU is now in the Big 12, and Syracuse is leaving the Big East to play in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Syracuse and West Virginia have played 59 times.
Syracuse leads the series 32 to 27, and they’ve won the last two meetings.
Geno Smith has never beaten them as a starter, and he says that means this game is even more important.
"I think everyone here understands that Syracuse the last two years, they have taken a lot from us. Those guys always come to play us like it’s their Super Bowl," said Smith.
"I know we’re coming to play as if it’s the Super Bowl."
Andrew Buie is a sophomore running back on the team.
He says he’s learned a lot from the seniors, like Geno Smith. Buie says it’s important to send them out as winners.
"Watching those guys play, you get to watch three guys at their position, who are some of the top guys at their position, do what they do, come in and practice day in and day out, go to work, play hard every game, it was good being able to play with those guys this year," Buie said.
The game will kick off at 3:15.