WVU to face Syracuse in Orlando
MORGANTOWN — For the second time in six years, West Virginia is facing Syracuse in a bowl game.
The old Big East Conference foes will meet in Orlando, Florida, on Friday, Dec. 28 in the 2018 Camping World Bowl. They last met six years ago in the Pinstripe Bowl with the Orange taking a 38-14 win at Yankee Stadium.
“I’m getting caught up on (the old rivalry) as we speak,” Syracuse coach Dino Babers said during Sunday’s Camping World Bowl teleconference. “I hear that the fanbase will be rabid about it and will be looking forward to going against our old Big East foe.”
Earning a bowl invitation is new territory for a Syracuse program that will be making its first bowl trip since 2013 when the Orange defeated Minnesota 21-17 in the Texas Bowl.
“This is new ground for us,” Babers said. “I’ve just got to make sure they’re not acting like a new kid at school and they’re so excited they forget about their surroundings and don’t forget they have a fantastic West Virginia football team to get ready for.”
Syracuse, ranked 17th in the final regular-season AP poll, got to Orlando this year by generating its most victories in 17 years, going 9-3 this season and finishing second to Clemson in the ACC’s Atlantic Division.
“We’re excited to be going to the Camping World Bowl once again. From a proximity point of view, it’s spectacular, it’s perfect for us,” said WVU coach Dana Holgorsen. “It’s a great old Big East matchup with Syracuse. I know our fan base will be excited about rekindling some old memories.
“We’re one of the few teams from West Virginia that’s been in the top 15 all year. We’re familiar with how the game works in Orlando and we’re excited about getting down there.”
Syracuse’s most impressive victory of the season came against 22nd-ranked NC State on Oct. 27, when it outlasted the Wolfpack, 51-41, in the Carrier Dome.
The Orange also routed Florida State 30-7, got by North Carolina 40-37 and finished the regular season with an outstanding 42-21 victory at Boston College.
In that game, senior quarterback Eric Dungey bounced back from an upper body injury sustained in the Notre Dame loss a week prior to complete 21 of 34 passes for 362 yards and three touchdowns while also running for three scores.
Dungey is yet another mobile quarterback that West Virginia’s defense will have to try and contain.