The entire staff predicted Syracuse would win its second Pinstripe Bowl, but no one thought it would be this much of an ass kicking. Here’s my instant reaction to the blowout 38-14 win.
- Props to Nate Hackett’s play-calling. For a heavy pass oriented offense, with a quarterback who was knocking on the door of the pros, he remained steadfast to the run on a messy night. The running backs did the rest. The play calling was patient, and responsible, without being completely predictable. The ground game worked, so why ignore the easy success?
- Prince Tyson-Gulley and Jerome Smith snapped into Snow Plow Mode all day. ‘Romey was simply punishing. You hesitate to compare him to the great power backs like Christian Okoye, Mike Alstott, and Jerome Bettis. But how many college backs move straight ahead, take on tacklers, bounce off them, and fall forward so consistently? Ron Dayne was excellent at that with Wisconsin. But usually it happens when your body fills out more in the NFL. Also, PTG had the game of his life. He’s a mudder – which is a huge compliment.
- PTG had Marcus Sales’ game two years later. Tyson-Gulley was a home run threat all day, finishing over 200 yards on the ground, another 50 through the air, and three touchdowns. His 67-yard scamper essentially iced it after the the phantom flag on WVU’s 4th down TD.
- The officials were far too trigger happy all game. Interesting stat: 4 of the top 5 most penalized teams are in the Big 12. This officiating crew was from the Big 12. Sixteen flags? Ten on WVU? The flag on the 4th down TD could’ve made it 19-14. They missed Brandon Sharpe’s kick/trip on the second safety. Bad day for them.
- Scott Shafer’s defense kept one of the nation’s great playmakers under wraps… again. Geno Smith is dynamic, and has ripped apart many defenses in his college career. He was held to under 200 yards passing, and absolutely nothing on the ground. In fact, Steadman Bailey’s 59-yard TD catch represents almost a third of all Geno’s offense. What a day for the Orange defense.
- What kind of SU football karma gifts us two snowy, icy, frigid nights for our first two bowl games in years? I made it out to the ’10 game, and had an awesome time. But it was friggin’ cold. Tonight was a day-long snow storm. Forget a sunny, 70-degree day that most bowl teams get. This was real SU football weather. The way it was before the Dome, and it’s cool the Orange played well in both for wins.
- Doug Effing Marrone deserves the slow clap. Look at what this team accomplished after the 2-4 start? Can you believe we were debating whether he was the right man for the job in October? Many felt he could only take this program to a certain level, and we had reached the ceiling. Since then, the Orange snapped off six wins in seven games, and played its best football down the stretch. Add blowout wins over UConn, Louisville, Temple and West Virginia, and this was a storming of the Big East past and present in ’12.
- You have to feel incredibly good about the state of SU football. Heading into the ACC, the Orange has major momentum. Yes, you lose Nassib. But it feels like both coordinators and the head coach really found themselves this season. The Orange has another strong class about to commit in a month, and Ebenezer Ogundeko was at Yankee Stadium tonight. How can he not be impressed with this program? Jesse Palmer was skeptical SU can hang in the ACC next season. I disagree. This team knows who it is, has an unreal backfield returning, and is adding more talent.
- New York, New York. The Empire State Building was lit up. The Pinstripe Bowl sold over 41,000 tickets. Syracuse cruised to a win. The ESPN crew fawned over New York City all night, on a Saturday evening, prime viewing, for a region of the country caught inside because of snow. That was a 3 1/2 hour commercial for SU. Happy 2012 Orange Nation. What a way to end it.
Pinstripe Bowl ’12 kickoff is almost here. Time for the official score predictions from The Fizz staff. We’ll have complete coverage from the Bronx all day, including on Twitter @OrangeFizz - including an easy to use window below, which will include all our tweets from the game. All of Team Fizz’s tweets will be in the window below, and you can interact with them by either tweeting @orangefizz or using the hashtag #PinstripeFizz.
D.A.: To me this is going to look a lot like the ’10 game. Icy conditions, cold wintry night, and a lot of offense. It might not be Nassib to Sales, but the Orange will have a lot of success through the air again. Nassib is going to finish his college career strong, and establish his NFL stock on a postseason stage. He hits Alec Lemon on a 45-yard TD pass with 1:16 left to win it, 43-37.
Craig Hoffman: Two year ago Syracuse won the Pinstripe Bowl in large part to the big play, and I think that’ll be key today. West Virginia can’t cover so look for Sales and Lemon to try and get over the top and SU to pull out a 35-28 win in the snow.
Kevin Fitzgerald: There’s one advantage that SU has in the wind and snow, and that’s a much more balanced run game. The weather shouldn’t impact either teams’ game plan too much, but give SU the advantage in a game most of Mountaineers’ don’t even want to be in. SU 34, WVU 28.
Andrew Kanell: West Virginia’s senior QB comes in with more hype, but Syracuse’s leaves on top. 35-27 Orange.
Brendan Glasheen: At least 60 points combined by these potent offenses means a shoot out between Geno Smith and Ryan Nassib. The Mountaineers have been too up and down this season and haven’t turned in a decent defensive performance all year. Syracuse, however, has been hot over its last 6 and will maintain ownership of NYC in this potential snow bowl. Syracuse 35 West Virginia 31.
Alex Kline: This is going to be a high scoring affair, to say the least. SU 38-31.