Orange ends eight-year drought against WVU with 19-14 upset
Published: Sunday, October 24, 2010
Updated: Sunday, October 24, 2010 21:10
The 58,122 in attendance at Milan Puskar Stadium sat in a state of shock.
For the first time since 2001, the Ben Schwartzwalder Trophy belongs in the hands of Syracuse after a 19-14 upset win over No. 20 West Virginia.
WVU head coach Bill Stewart said his team was full of "heavy hearts."
"I'm not at all pleased with how we played intellectually," Stewart said. "The intelligence side of our game in the last week was not good."
The Mountaineers were held scoreless through the final three quarters, and quarterback Geno Smith had his most inefficient game as a starter. Smith was 20-of-37 for 178 yards. He had three interceptions in the contest.
On WVU's last offensive play – a fourth-and-22 inside Syracuse territory – Smith took a sack to end the Mountaineers' comeback with 37 seconds left. Syracuse sacked Smith five times for a loss total of 32 yards.
"We didn't come out with the right mindset," Smith said. "We were taking a lot of punches. They were a lot more physical than us. That is something we have to work on."
Syracuse turned those three turnovers into nine points, as kicker Ross Krautman connected on three field goals. He added another to his total in the second quarter.
The only two touchdowns for WVU came in the first quarter.
Slot receiver Tavon Austin caught a 6-yard pass from Smith to give the Mountaineers their first lead of the afternoon. It was his third touchdown reception of the season.
With 1:55 remaining in the opening frame, fullback Ryan Clarke scored from 1 yard out to put WVU up 14-10 at the conclusion of the quarter.
"At the end of the day, offensive football is about execution," said WVU offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen. "As a football coach, I want to be able to go back, look at the tape and see what I can do to better prepare our team for a game on Saturday."
The Mountaineer offense struggled on the ground with just 106 yards.
Starting running back Noel Devine ran for 126 yards – his first 100-yard performance since Sept. 18.
Devine's performance allowed him to move into fourth place on the all-time WVU rushing list, passing former Mountaineer Steve Slaton. Devine now has 4,007 rushing yards.
Defensively, West Virginia surrendered 246 yards of total offense. The Mountaineer defense was torched on the ground by a trio of Orange running backs. Starter Delone Carter ran for 75 yards before missing the entire second half with a hip bruise.
Backups Antwon Bailey and Prince-Tyson Gulley filled in nicely, as the tandem was used almost exclusively down the stretch to run clock and keep the ball out of WVU's hands.
"We gave up a lot of yards on the rushing game," said linebacker Anthony Leonard. "That took a toll on us toward the end of the game. You take about 80 yards of that away, and it's a whole other game."
While SU quarterback Ryan Nassib struggled, he did throw his 12th touchdown pass of the year to receiver Van Chew with five minutes remaining in the first quarter.