West Virginia tabbed for Pinstripe Bowl vs. Syracuse

West Virginia Mountaineers senior quarterback Geno Smith (12) celebrates following a 59-10 victory over the Kansas Jayhawks in his final game at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va. on December 01, 2012.
West Virginia Mountaineers senior quarterback Geno Smith (12) celebrates following a 59-10 victory over the Kansas Jayhawks in his final game at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va. on December 01, 2012.
Photo by Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
John Harris
| Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012, 8:20 p.m.

There won't be a revival of the Backyard Brawl, but West Virginia is still going to the New Era Pinstripe Bowl.

The Mountaineers, who won their final two games of the regular season, will face Syracuse on Dec. 29 at Yankee Stadium.

It marks the 11th consecutive season the Mountaineers (7-5, 4-5 in the Big 12) have received a postseason bid.

“We finished the season strong with two straight wins, and I am glad our players get the reward of playing in a bowl game,” WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said. “Playing in New York City will provide a national stage, and Yankee Stadium will be a great venue for our seniors to finish their careers.”

The New Era Pinstripe Bowl will be televised at 3:15 p.m. on ESPN.

Speculation centered around a revival of the Backward Brawl between WVU and Pitt at the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, but bowl officials opted for Syracuse, which shared first place in the Big East with Louisville, Rutgers and Cincinnati.

Pitt will face Mississippi in the BBVA Compass Bowl on Jan. 5 in Birmingham, Ala.

The New Era Pinstripe Bowl has a $1.8 million payout and features the fourth choice from the Big East vs. the seventh team from the Big 12.

Pitt finished fifth in its final season in the Big East.

Syracuse (7-5, 5-2) is returning to the New Era Pinstripe Bowl for the second time in three years. The Orange defeated Kansas State in the inaugural Pinstripe Bowl, 36-34, in 2010.

Last year, WVU was the Big East champion in its final year in the league. The Mountaineers won the BCS bid and demolished Clemson, 70-33, in the Orange Bowl.

The New Era Pinstripe Bowl marks the final college games at WVU for quarterback Geno Smith and receiver Tavon Austin.

Smith, who could be the first quarterback selected in the 2013 NFL Draft, is WVU's career leader in passing yards, touchdown passes, completions, attempts, passing efficiency and total offense. He leads the nation with 40 touchdown passes.

Austin is WVU's career leader in receptions, receiving yards and all-purpose yards.

John Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at jharris@tribweb.com.

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