The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

October 19, 2011

Syracuse another challenge for WVU

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen didn’t view much tape of last year’s 19-14 loss to Syracuse.

He didn’t need too to realize exactly what went wrong.

“I’m pretty familiar with how the day went,” Holgorsen, in his first year, said. “We jumped out to a lead and didn’t have enough excitement and energy to finish the game.”

No. 11 West Virginia (5-1, 1-0 Big East) travels to Syracuse (4-2, 0-1) Friday for an 8 p.m. game that will be televised on ESPN.

All the scoring was done in the first half, and WVU was hurt by three Geno Smith interceptions in that game. Smith has thrown just three in six games this year. And only one of those was his fault. He has four games without an interception and hasn’t thrown one since the LSU game.

“Those will get you beat —  we’ve talked about that before,” Holgorsen said. “Much like UConn the week before, we’re talking about West Virginia not being able to get up for that game. The one thing that sticks out is turnovers. If I tell our guys that, they’re probably going to be able to relate to it.”

Syracuse bounced back from a 19-16 loss to Rutgers with a 37-34 win over Tulane. All of Syracuse’s wins have been like that. They’ve also scored a 3-point win over Toledo and have 7-point wins over Wake Forest and Rhode Island. They also lost to USC 38-17.

Quarterback Ryan Nassib has completed 124 of 192 passes for 1,294 yards with 11 TDs and four interceptions.

Alec Lemon has 31 receptions for 322 yards and three touchdowns and Van Chew has 20 for 299 and three scores.

Antwon Bailey leads he ground game with 553 yards and five touchdowns.

“It’s pretty obvious what they want to do,” Holgorsen said. “Coach Doug Morrone has had some pretty good quarterbacks.

“They want to control the game. They want to get in the huddle and run pro-style stuff. They want to beat you with formations, grind the clock downand get first downs.  Ithink they had about 260 yards last year, converted some big third downs and ate some clock up.”

Holgorsen said Syracuse will get injured defensive end Chandler Jones, a 6-foot-5, 265-pound senior, back.

 “No. 99 (Jones, from) what I’ve seen on film from last year and their first game this year, is as good as any defensive end in the league,” Holgorsen said.

“Getting him back will cause problems. Their whole secondary is back. They’ve got good safeties. Their corners are guys who have played. Their scheme has been the same. They’ve been out of position a couple of times and have been beat, or they haven’t gotten to the quarterback in time on pass defense, but it’s a variety of things (for the low defensive rankings).”

— E-mail: demorrison@

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