Jacksonville Sports Day

BOWLS: Fourth-Quarter Flurry Lifts Syracuse Over WVU in Camping World Bowl

ORLANDO, Fla. – Record-setting quarterback Eric Dungey added to his career totals, completing 21-of-30 passes for 303 yards and a touchdown to lead No. 17 Syracuse (10-3) to a 34-18 victory against No. 15 West Virginia (8-4) in the Camping World Bowl.

Dungey was named the game’s MVP and Syracuse captured the Charles H. Rohe Trophy, named in honor of the former executive director of Florida Citrus Sports, as the 2018 Camping World Bowl champions.

In a game that featured eight lead changes, Dungey led Syracuse to 17 fourth-quarter points to erase an 18-17 deficit and emerge victorious.

“Couldn’t be more proud of the 2018 seniors to end in this fashion against a rival opponent that goes so far back in our history,” said Syracuse head coach  Dino Babers said. “Can’t say enough about the Camping World Bowl and the way they’ve treated us here, and the trophy is really, really heavy and I’m glad we got it.”

It was West Virginia’s fifth loss in this event, previously called the Carquest, Champs Sports and Russell Athletic bowls. Two of the losses occurred in Miami.

This was also the Mountaineers’ second bowl-game loss to its longtime Eastern rival. In the other meeting, the Orange claimed a 38-14 victory in the 2012 Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium in New York City.

“We fought; we tried,” West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said. “That’s all I can ask for out of these guys … just came up a little bit short.”

An announced crowd of 41,125 watched a back-and-forth defensive affair for three quarters with the Mountaineers getting the better end of things, thanks to four Evan Staley field goals

Running back Abdul Adams made a big splash in his Syracuse debut, scoring two first-half touchdowns to help the Orange out to a 14-12 halftime lead. Adams, a transfer from Oklahoma, became eligible following the end of Syracuse’s regular season. He carried the ball eight times for 19 yards against the Mountaineers.

Wide receiver Trishton Jackson, who transferred to Syracuse from Michigan State, also made an impact in his first game in Orange. Jackson caught a fourth-quarter touchdown pass from Dungey and finished the game with three receptions for 27 yards.

The Mountaineers put the first points on the board when Evan Staley kicked a 28-yard field goal with 6:42 left in the first quarter.

WVU quarterback Jack Allison, making his first career start, completed 17-of-35 passes for 277 yards with an interception, but he was sacked five times and had difficulty eluding oncoming rushers when Syracuse brought pressure.

The Orange answered promptly, moving 91 yards in 10 plays. Syracuse maneuvered into scoring position thanks to a 44-yard deep ball from Dungey to Jamal Custis that put the Orange at the West Virginia 3-yard line. Adams finished the march with a 4-yard plunge up the middle.

A turnover at the end of the first quarter helped West Virginia regain the edge early in the second period. A Dungey pass was intercepted by Kenny Robinson deep in Syracuse territory, and four plays later Kennedy McKoy powered his way into the end zone from three yards out. Staley’s extra-point try hit the upright and the Mountaineers led, 9-7.

On West Virginia’s next possession, the Mountaineers attempted to convert on fourth down, but safety Evan Foster stopped T.J. Simmons short of a first down at the Syracuse 40 to give the ball back to the offense.

Dungey took advantage, teaming with Taj Harris on a 19-yard play and another 8-yard completion. A 5-yard targeting penalty was tacked on to the second play to make it first-and-goal Syracuse at the five. Adams gained four yards and then bulled his way into the end zone from a yard out for his second touchdown.

Staley made up for his missed conversion attempt by kicking a 36-yard field goal with 6:33 left in the second quarter to narrow the gap to 14-12 at the intermission.

The third quarter featured a series of field goals. Staley sandwiched kicks of 44 and 49 yards around a 39-yarder from Syracuse All-American and Lou Groza Award winner Andre Szmyt to claim an 18-17 advantage with 3:23 to play in the stanza.

BOWL NOTES: Kendall Coleman had a Syracuse bowl-record three sacks and the Orange totaled five sacks overall to set a new school single-season record with 43 in 13 games. The previous record of 41 was established by the 1985 Syracuse squad…..Dungey became the Orange’s all-time leading passer with his 303-yard performance against the Mountaineers. The Lake Oswego, Ore. native ended his career with 9,314 yards, eclipsing Ryan Nassib’s mark of 9,190 yards from 2009-12. More impressive was the number of games Dungey needed to overtake Nassib. Dungey achieved his passing total in just 39 games, while Nassib played in 48…..Dungey accounted for 47 plays (30 passes, 17 runs) in the game to raise his season play count to 555, matching Nassib’s single-season Syracuse record set in 2012.


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