If West Virginia quarterback Will Grier was playing, this game would likely lead the most intriguing bowl games outside the New Year's Six games. Regardless, the upstart Syracuse Orange provide plenty of reasons to watch on its own.
Syracuse-West Virginia: Camping World Bowl time, TV channel
No. 16 West Virginia (8-3) plays No. 20 Syracuse (9-3) on Friday, Dec. 28 at 5:15 p.m. ET on ESPN at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida.
Syracuse-West Virginia: Camping World Bowl prediction, preview
These former Big East opponents are heading into their first meeting since 2012 with two top-10 offenses.
Grier is sitting out of the Camping World Bowl in preparation for the NFL draft in the spring, so West Virginia will have to find a way to generate its explosive offense without the nation’s third-ranked player in passing yards per game.
In place of Grier will likely be Jack Allison, who has attempted just 10 passes this season. Without Grier in its bowl game last season, West Virginia lost 30-14 with just 153 yards of offense. This is a great look at what West Virginia could look like in the future with Allison behind center.
Syracuse starting quarterback Eric Dungey will be playing in the Camping World Bowl and has been one of the better dual-threat quarterbacks that no one has talked about much of this season. In his fourth year as a starter, Dungey has finally played a full season and is averaging close to 275 total yards per game for the nation’s 16th-best offense.
Dungey can improvise plays with his feet and trusts receivers Jamal Custis and Sean Riley in the passing game. Allison hasn’t had the time with his receivers — and will be without leading receiver Gary Jennings — but David Sills will likely have to be the player of the game for West Virginia to keep up with the Syracuse offense in this game.
West Virginia comes into the game with the eighth-best offense in the country and the 74th-best defense, allowing more than 400 yards of offense per game. The difference between Syracuse’s offensive and defensive national ranking is just as stark with the 90th-best defense, allowing 426.8 yards on average.
If there’s an area that will make the difference in this game, it’s going to be how aggressive Syracuse’s defense will be against an inexperienced quarterback. The Orange, however, will be without defensive end Alton Robinson, who has 10 sacks and 17 tackles for loss this season, because of “personal reasons.”
Junior linebacker David Long is the defensive catalyst for the Mountaineers. He ranks eighth in the country in tackles for loss per game.
|9-3 (6-2 ACC Atlantic)||Record (Conference)||8-3 (6-3 Big 12)|
|40.8||Points per game||42.3|
|468.8||Yards per game||520.4|
|426.8||Yards allowed per game||405.5|
|263.0||Passing yards allowed||254.6|
|163.8||Rushing yards allowed||150.8|
2,565 yards (17 TDs, 7 INTs)
Will Grier (Not playing)
827 yards, 5 TDs
|Rushing leader||Kennedy McKoy
729 yards, 7 TDs
826 yards, 6 TDs
|Receiving leader||David Sills
896 yards, 15 TDs
101 total tackles, 14.5 TFL, 2.0 sacks
|Defensive leader||David Long
94 total tackles, 18.5 TFL, 8.0 sacks
Syracuse-West Virginia: Score Prediction
Without Will Grier, it’s tough to predict what West Virginia’s offense will look like. With Eric Dungey, you know what you’re getting from Syracuse’s offense.
Syracuse 42, West Virginia 31