The Syracuse Orange outscored West Virginia 17-0 in the fourth quarter, in a 34-18 win over the Mountaineers Friday night in the Camping World Bowl. It was competitive for three-quarters before the Orange broke the game open in the final 15 minutes of the game.
West Virginia’s defense held Syracuse to two-three and outs to start the game and was getting to quarterback Eric Dungy early. The defense pinned the Orange back at their own twelve-yard line with back to back sacks.
After the punt, the Mountaineers started their second drive near midfield. West Virginia took advantage of the Orange stacking the box and handed it off to Tevin Bush on a jet sweep for 20 yards. The drive stalled at the Syracuse 21-yard line and settled for an Evan Staley 28-yard field, taking the early lead.
Syracuse answered on the following drive, despite a failed cross the field lateral on the kick-off return the set-up the Orange at their own 9-yard line. Dungy went 5-5 through the air for 83 yards highlighted by a 44-yard pass to Jamal Custis. Running back Abdul Adams punched it in from four yards out, giving Syracuse a 7-3 lead.
The Mountaineer offense was off the field after five plays, but free safety Kenny Robinson stepped in front of a Dungy pass deep in Orange territory to end the first quarter.
Three straight runs from Kennedy McKoy, and the final two from the wildcat formation got West Virginia their first and only touchdown of the game.
Holding onto a 9-7 lead, head coach Dana Holgorsen went for it on 4th and 3 at the Syracuse 40-yard line. He put in Trey Lowe and through a quick out to TJ Simmons that came up a yard short. got two yards.
The orange took advantage of the good field position and two personal fouls on the defense and regained the with another rushing touchdown from Adams.
On the ensuing drive, Martell Pettaway burst through the right side for 51 yards putting the Mountaineers down to the Orange 24-yard line. The drive stalls after Trey Lowe was sacked for six yards and settled for a 36-yard Staley field goal.
West Virginia was hanging in the game only down two at halftime, behind an aggressive defense that got to the quarterback five times and holding one of the better offenses in the country to just 176 yards of total offense.
Jack Allison and the offense put together a good drive to start the second half. A big play through the air when Allison hit Tevin Bush on a deep out for 34-yards; however, they again had to settle for a field goal from 44-yards out.
Syracuse responded with a 10-play 47-yard field goal drive of their own to re-take the lead 17-15.
On the ensuing drive, the Mountaineers put themselves into field goal range on a deep pass down the sideline for 43-yards to freshman Kwincy Hall. Staley made his fourth field goal of the game from 49-yards out.
The Orange started the fourth quarter taking a six-point lead after Dungy threw it up to Tristan Jackson from 14-yards out on their way to scoring 17-straight points in the final quarter winning 34-18.
“Disappointing loss. Disappointing end to the season, but I’m proud of our guys.” Holgorsen said after the game. “We fought – we tried – that’s all I can ask for out of these guys. They laced it up and they tried, just came up a little bit short.”
West Virginia came into the game missing four offensive starters. Two of their top receivers (Marcus Simms and Gary Jennings) their left tackle (Yodny Cajuste) and quarterback Will Grier.
“I can make a bunch of excuses, but we played a good team.” Said Holgorsen. “Give coach (Dino) Babers credit. They’ve played well all year. They got 3 losses – they’re 10-3. They had one loss to one CFP team and another loss to another CFP team. Give them credit. They’ve been given up some stuff all year. They got real-good in turnovers. They got real-good in red zone defense. They did a good job on third down, that’s what they did all year.”
The Mountaineers were able to rip off some big plays and have 423 yards of total offense against the Orange defense. “Proud of our coaches and players for having a good game plan. We moved the ball effectively we just didn’t finish drives.” Boasted Holgorsen.
West Virginia may have been able to move the ball; nonetheless they weren’t able to cross the goal but only once in the game.
They play good defense. They’ve done that all year.” Explained Holgorsen. They’re a top 10 team in the country in redzone defense. They got a style of play that they believe in. They give up some yardage and give up some plays, but they don’t panic on that. The way they play as a team they’re used to a lot of possessions and used to fast-paced games. They’ve done a good job of instilling in their defensive guys heads to just keep playing no matter what happens.”
Jack Allison got his first start in his short college career. He came into the game only have attempted 10 passes.
“Was proud of him.” Bragged Dana. “Thought his was demeanor was good. Work ethic was good. When we put Trey in there – I thought he went in there and enjoyed playing the game. I think what happened here in the course of this last month will help us become a better team.”
|3rd down efficiency||6-18||5-14|
|4th down efficiency||0-3||0-0|
|Yards per pass||7.3||10.1|
|Yards per rush||4.1||2.5|
|Trey Lowe III||2/2||0||0.0||0||0||26.1|
|Trey Lowe III||2||3||1.5||0||9|