first_imgNEW YORK — Geno Smith stood alone on the West Virginia sideline. With his coat on and his helmet off, Smith’s day and career were over. He waited as the final minute ticked off of the clock and was the first of his Mountaineer teammates to walk toward midfield as the Syracuse celebration began.The star quarterback just completed an illustrious career, capped by a spectacular individual season, with his third consecutive loss to Syracuse. Smith finished 16-of-24 for 197 yards and two touchdowns in the 38-14 defeat in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium in snowy and cold conditions Saturday.He finished the season with 42 touchdowns, more than 4,000 yards passing and a completion percentage above 70 percent, but Smith’s loss also ensured his career would end without a win over the Orange – the only Big East team he never beat in his WVU career.“I told them it’s tough to win three in a row against a very talented football team and extremely bright coaching staff that West Virginia has,” SU defensive coordinator Scott Shafer said.But Shafer said he also told his team if it came together and played hard-nosed football as a unit, SU would be in position to take down WVU for a third straight time.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThis game represented a chance for Smith and West Virginia – now members of the Big 12 – to avenge their last two games against the Orange. Smith couldn’t lead his team past the Orange in Morgantown, W.Va., in a 19-14 loss in 2010. And he and the explosive WVU offense couldn’t keep up in a shocking 49-23 upset at the Carrier Dome last season.Smith was sacked nine times and threw five interceptions combined in those matchups. Shafer said he didn’t change much in the game plan that worked so well the last two years.“We knew what we had to do,” SU linebacker Siriki Diabate said. “We stop Geno Smith and that’s what we had the mentality of doing, getting after him, applying a lot of pressure and that’s what we did.”Diabate and the SU defense recorded two safeties, three sacks and forced a fumble with its pressure of Smith in the backfield. The quarterback spent much of the day firing quick passes to the outside rather than airing it out downfield in conditions that made it tough for either team to throw the ball.He was forced to put it in the hands of his playmakers, and the SU defense rose to the occasion. Though Smith’s final statistical line was respectable, he never got into a rhythm in the pocket and the Mountaineers struggled to put together drives as a result.The quarterback who started the season as a Heisman Trophy candidate and ranked among the nation’s top passers finished his career with another lackluster effort in a loss to Syracuse.“We just kept pressuring Geno as much as possible and trying to just fly to the ball,” SU defensive tackle Jay Bromley said. “It worked out for us.” Comments Published on December 29, 2012 at 11:08 pm Contact Ryne: [email protected] Related Stories SNOW PLOW: Syracuse dominates West Virginia on the ground to win Pinstripe Bowl for 2nd time in 3 yearsGallery: Syracuse romps past West Virginia in snowy Pinstripe Bowl, 38-14Cohen: Pinstripe Bowl victory completes remarkable, year-long change of fortunes for Marrone, Syracuse programSU fans share their Pinstripe Bowl experiences through social mediaSyracuse defense responds to challenge, stifles potent West Virginia offense in Pinstripe Bowl victorycenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *