Syracuse stuns West Virginia
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Ryan Nassib threw three touchdown passes to tight end Nick Provo, Dorian Graham returned a kickoff 98 yards for another score, and Syracuse stunned No. 11 West Virginia 49-23 on Friday night with a spirited effort on both sides of the ball.
Syracuse (5-2, 1-1 Big East) hadn't beaten West Virginia (5-2, 1-1) in the Carrier Dome in a decade, and the Orange played a near flawless game to break the streak just as they did last year in a 19-14 upset of the Mountaineers in Morgantown. That victory stopped an eight-game losing streak to West Virginia, and this one was even more impressive.
Syracuse hadn't scored that many points in the series since a 45-0 win in 1960, and a Carrier Dome crowd of 45,265, the largest in three years, roared its approval with thunderous cheers as third-year head coach Doug Marrone enjoyed the most significant win of his brief tenure.
The high-powered West Virginia offense led by Geno Smith was kept in check most of the game, only shining in fits and spurts.
West Virginia entered the game averaging 40.8 points and 503.5 yards offensively and finished with 408 against the hard-hitting Syracuse defense.
Smith was 24 of 41 for 338 yards and two touchdowns, and his interceptions came at critical junctures — the first at the Orange goal line and the second on the final play of the third quarter when the game was still within reach.
Stedman Bailey had seven catches for 130 yards and one touchdown and Tavon Austin had six catches for 60 yards for West Virginia.
Nassib was 24 of 32 for 229 yards and four touchdowns and no turnovers, also hitting David Stevens on a 29-yarder midway through the third quarter that gave Syracuse a 28-16 lead.
Both teams, off last week, had plenty of time to gameplan and Syracuse devised a winning formula.