The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

October 25, 2010

Not much good in loss to Orange

MORGANTOWN — There was plenty of blame to go around following West Virginia’s 19-14 loss to Syracuse Saturday.

Geno Smith suffered through a bad day, with three interceptions and five sacks.

And there was the line play that allowed those sacks, three in a pivotal fourth quarter when WVU was trying to come back.

“They did an awful lot of blitzing and put a lot of stress on our offensive line,” head coach Bill Stewart said Sunday in his weekly teleconference with state media. “We turned the ball over three times, we did move the ball, we outgained them, etc., we just didn’t out-do them on the scoreboard, because you can’t turn the ball over and give away nine points.”

The Orange did get three field goals off the three interceptions.

But Smith never really had a chance to make a late push with a stiff rush in his face most of the second half.

But Stewart would not throw the offensive line under the proverbial bus.

“It’s not like the protection was crazy in a desperate situation, and we threw the ball pretty well,” Stewart said. “He did get hit a few times, but on the interceptions, he wasn’t hit but once. That’s when Jock was open in the middle and the ball fluttered on us, and he got hit that one time. The other two times were just plain interceptions.”

Smith was sacked twice in the game’s final drive and once on the drive before that.

“We had a chance to win it at the end, and we got sacked,” Stewart said. “I just think there are many things you can do in football but you can always do all of them better. I thought at times, Geno threw the ball pretty well. We had some penalties, we had some distractions with that because it got us off-schedule, we tried to push the ball deep, but we didn’t have enough time because they have a good, sound defense.”

Stewart didn’t feel the team was unprepared, but that they might not have taken Syracuse, which was handled 45-14 by Pitt the week before at home, seriously.

“I think we were beaten between the ears from the shoulders up,” Stewart said. “I say this every time we have a loss, to what experts say is a lesser team. When you do not respect each and every opponent, and fear none, you are going to get sidetracked. I don’t know why the upsets happen or why losses like this occur, but it’s mental. I’m not going to chastise or rip these players, because they had a great week. They worked hard, but If you do not get it right between the ears and take each opponent seriously, you’re going to have trouble.”

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