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Syracuse to play in Camping World Bowl against West Virginia

first_img Published on December 2, 2018 at 3:27 pm Contact Matt: mdliberm@syr.edu For more coverage of this season:Syracuse, Eric Dungey cap historic season with win at Boston CollegeRex Culpepper is Syracuse’s unofficial nutritionistSU fullback Chris Elmore is driven by his best friend’s deathAn uneven college path led Ryan Guthrie to SyracuseSchafer: Syracuse football is backHow a few kickboxing lessons redefined Kendall Coleman’s pass rush Comments After finishing the regular season at 9-3, its best campaign since 2001, No. 20 Syracuse will play  No. 16 West Virginia in the Camping World Bowl on Dec. 28 in Orlando, Florida. “We get to work on our tans,” SU head coach Dino Babers said. “Bring your sunscreen.”This game marks Syracuse’s (9-3, 6-2 Atlantic Coast)  second trip to the Camping World Bowl. Its first ended in a loss to Georgia Tech in 2004. WVU (8-3, 6-3 Big 12) has become a regular through of the bowl, with Dec. 28 marking the Mountaineers’ fifth time playing in it, a Camping World Bowl record. The matchup between SU and WVU is certainly one that Syracuse fans are accustomed to seeing. The two paired up in Syracuse’s 2012 bowl trip, which ended in a 38-14 SU victory in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl and have long been Big East rivals before West Virginia moved to the Big 12 and SU transferred to the ACC in 2013. Syracuse currently holds a 33-27 edge over the Mountaineers all time. “We get to play an old rival and it should be one heck of a football game,” SU athletic director John Wildhack said. “It validates the season that we’ve had and it validates that we’re the second-best team in the ACC.”Syracuse had been tied with Oregon State for the second-longest drought, with its last bowl game coming in 2013 when the Orange beat Minnesota in the Texas Bowl.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Orange won its sixth game and clinched bowl eligibility on Oct. 27 with a 51-41 victory over North Carolina State in the Carrier Dome. And a win against WVU would give Syracuse 10 wins for just the seventh time in program history. “We’re honored to be in this position. Especially this senior class,” quarterback Eric Dungey said. “This is best-case scenario.”The Orange’s opponent, West Virginia, is led by quarterback Will Grier, one of the nation’s top quarterbacks, who finished top-five in passing yards per game, touchdowns, and passer rating. On top of that, the Mountaineers have proven to be one of the most prolific offenses in college football. West Virginia ranks eighth and ninth, respectively, in yards per game (520.4) and points per game (42.3) in the country. But, WVU’s regular season ended with two-straight losses to Oklahoma State and Oklahoma after entering the season as a potential playoff hopeful. West Virginia ranked as high as No. 9 in the College Football Playoff Rankings before losing to the Sooners and Oklahoma State. One factor that may play key for Syracuse is turnover within West Virginia’s program. WVU offensive coordinator Jake Spavital has been named the next head coach at Texas State. Spavital plans on coaching the Mountaineers in the bowl game. Heading into Sunday morning, Syracuse’s fate was up in the air with much of the media split between the Orange ending up in the Camping World Bowl or the New Era Pinstripe Bowl in the Bronx. Wildhack spoke with Camping World Bowl CEO Steve Hogan four times last week, Wildhack said, pitching SU’s case to play in Orlando. Many believed the decision to be between Syracuse and North Carolina State, as the Wolfpack are also 9-3, and located much closer to the Orlando site. “We played head to head, it was a great game, and we beat them,” Wildhack said. “And traditionally the Camping World Bowl takes the highest team available.”One of Wildhacks’ other pitches to Hogan, Wildhack said, was how well he believed Syracuse fans would travel to this game, citing crowds at SU’s previous road games. “We’ve got packages that are available now for our fans. We’ve got a large Florida alumni base. We got a large current base in Florida. We’ve got a number of fans who spend a good chunk of the winter down in Florida,” Wildhack said. “You can fly there direct from literally anywhere in the country. In so many ways it’s a great destination for our fans.”“If people feel that there’s a knock that we don’t travel well,” Wildhack said, “well here’s a chance to prove our critics wrong.” Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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