EditorsNote: update 2: updates Allison’s passing stats in fourth graf; changes to “423-418” in 10th graf
Eric Dungey overcame two interceptions to throw for 303 yards and a touchdown, and Abdul Adams ran for two short touchdowns as No. 20 Syracuse pulled away from No. 16 West Virginia for a 34-18 win in the Camping World Bowl on Thursday night in Orlando, Fla.
Dungey put the Orange (10-3) ahead 24-18 early in the fourth quarter on a 14-yard touchdown pass to Trishton Jackson. That started a run of 17 unanswered points as Syracuse achieved its first 10-win season since 2001.
West Virginia (8-4), playing without quarterback Will Grier, ended the season on a three-game skid and fell to 2-5 in bowls under Dana Holgorsen.
Mountaineers sophomore Jack Allison made his first start and finished 17 of 35 for 277 yards. His only interception — a tipped pass that wound up in the hands of Orange defensive back Allen Stritzinger — led to a Syracuse field goal and a 27-18 lead.
Dungey scrambled away from four defenders on Syracuse’s ensuing possession to throw a dump pass that Moe Neal turned into a 42-yard gain. That set up Jarveon Howard’s 4-yard touchdown run.
Grier had finished fourth in Heisman Trophy voting after flinging 37 touchdowns in the regular season. The fifth-year senior opted out of the bowl game in order to begin NFL draft preparations. The Mountaineers’ passing attack was further hampered by the absence of Gary Jennings (ankle), who caught 13 touchdowns and finished just shy of his second straight 1,000-yard receiving season.
Syracuse was missing defensive end Alton Robinson, whose 10 sacks were tied for eighth-most in the country. Robinson and part-time defensive line starter McKinley Williams did not travel to Orlando because of what Orange coach Dino Babers termed “personal reasons.”
The long-time Big East rivals were facing off for the second time since conference realignment. Their last meeting came in the frigid 2012 Pinstripe Bowl, which Syracuse dominated 38-14. The temperatures were far milder in 81-degree Orlando, but the result was the same.
David Sills V closed his career with four catches worth 90 yards for the Mountaineers. Kennedy McKoy ran for 73 yards on 17 carries, including a 3-yard touchdown out of the Wildcat formation early in the second quarter.
West Virginia outgained Syracuse 423-418 but went 0-for-3 on fourth-down tries.
Mountaineers safety Kenny Robinson was ejected for targeting on a second-quarter hit on Syracuse receiver Taj Harris.
Evan Staley made four field goals for West Virginia, including kicks from 49 and 44 yards.
—Field Level Media