West Virginia vs. Syracuse: Postgame Grades for the Orange's Pinstripe Bowl Win

Chris StephensCorrespondent IIDecember 29, 2012

West Virginia vs. Syracuse: Postgame Grades for the Orange's Pinstripe Bowl Win

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    The Syracuse Orange have won the New Era Pinstripe Bowl for the second time in three years.

    The Orange manhandled the West Virginia Mountaineers on both sides of the ball and never looked back.

    FINAL: Syracuse 38, West Virginia 14

    The Orange have now won four of their last five bowl games.

    Stay tuned for final game grades.


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    Overall Game Grade: B-

    Ryan Nassib had a good game for the Orange, completing 12 passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns.

    Nassib wasn't asked to do as much as normal as the running game went off throughout the game.

    The quarterback was able to manage the clock and keep the Orange driving throughout the game.

    His two touchdown passes in the third quarter put the game away as the Orange never looked back from an early 3-0 lead.

Running Backs

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    Overall Game Grade: A+

    Prince-Tyson Gulley and Jerome Smith went off, rushing for 373 yards total.

    Gulley had rushing touchdowns of 33 and 67 yards as he continually split the defense up the middle. And when it wasn't Gulley, Smith was doing his thing.

    In total, the pair had 17 rushes of seven or more yards as the West Virginia defense had trouble bringing them down.

    Gulley was also the team's leading receiver with five catches for 50 yards.

    Coming into the game, the West Virginia pass defense was the biggest question mark. Gulley and Smith made people rethink that with their rushing abilities.

Wide Receivers

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    Overall Game Grade: D-

    The wide receivers weren't as involved in the game plan as originally though.

    Due to the weather and the running game working so well, the receivers only had 86 yards in the game, and were mainly in there to block.

    Beckett Wales did have a receiving touchdown in the third quarter, bringing in a pass that put the game away for the Orange.

Offensive Line

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    Overall Game Grade: A+

    The offensive line was the story of the game as it blocked for a 376-yard rushing effort.

    Throughout the game, huge holes were opened by the line as the two running backs were able to slip through multiple holes.

    Part of the success had to do with the cold as Syracuse was forced early to run the ball. However, the run turned out to be successful and the offense just ran with it.

Defensive Line

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    Overall Game Grade: A-

    Brandon Sharpe was simply dominant throughout the game.

    With six tackles, including two sacks, Sharpe was constantly in the backfield making plays and putting pressure on Geno Smith. In fact, one of his sacks went for a safety.

    West Virginia only rushed for 100 yards as the running backs could never get anything going.

    That was in large part to Sharpe and the rest of the line.


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    Overall Game Grade: B+

    While not as dominant as the defensive line, the linebackers had an equally good game for the Orange.

    Cameron Lynch had a sack in the end zone for a safety to go along with six tackles. Siriki Diabate also had a good game with five tackles.

    West Virginia had no success in the running game. When it did get to the second level, the linebackers were there to clean things up.

    Overall, the pressure provided by the linebackers, made the entire defense look good as it allowed a total of 287 yards for the game.


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    Overall Game Grade: B-

    Had it not been for two bad plays by the secondary, Syracuse might have pulled out the shutout.

    Stedman Bailey had two touchdown catches, making great plays over the secondary for his scores.

    Outside of those two plays (61 yards_, the secondary allowed 126 yards the rest of the game.

    Entering the game, Geno Smith averaged 340.9 yards per game, meaning they kept him at just over half that.

Special Teams

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    Overall Game Grade: C+

    Special teams wasn't too much of a factor in the game, although the Orange did have a blocked field goal on the game's first drive.

    Ross Krautman hit two field goals and four extra points to be perfect on the day.

    Jonathan Fisher had a lousy day punting, averaging 25.7 yards on his three punts.

    The special teams never really had to get things going as kicks were short on both sides.


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    Overall Game Grade: A+

    Early on, the weather was affecting both offenses, but the Syracuse offensive coaches made the necessary adjustments to give the Orange a big win.

    While Syracuse came into the game known more for passing the ball, the run game is what worked and that's what the coaches continued to do.

    Ball control was a huge aspect as well, as the Orange had the ball for 36:23, never being in too much of a hurry to let West Virginia get the ball back.