NEW YORK -- West Virginia defensive coordinator Keith Patterson has spent bowl week preparing for a Syracuse offense that has put together a record season.
The one aspect of the Orange offense he expects will pose a major challenge is the run game.
"They were pretty impressive a year ago. The difference I think you're going to see is the run game," said Patterson. "I think they're much more effective at running the football."
Patterson said his take is that they've "streamlined" the run game from a year ago, and that has helped.
"They're so different than what they were a year ago from what I can tell. Seems as if they've streamlined their run game which has made them much more effective at running the ball," said Patterson.
The Orange (7-5) has featured three talented backs -- Jerome Smith, Prince-Tyson Gulley and Adonis Ameen-Moore -- but Syracuse will be without Ameen-Moore, who was suspended by coach Doug Marrone earlier this week for a violation.
The Syracuse offense has produced 216.2 rushing yards per game in the past six games after averaging 1127.5 in the first six.
Smith rings opening bell
One of the perks of bowl week in the Big Apple was the opportunity for West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith and Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib to ring the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange.
The pair stood above the trading floor Thursday morning and simultaneously pressed the button that rings the bell at 9:30 a.m..
Just before that a short chant of "Let's goooo Mountaineers" broke out on the trading room floor from a pair of brokers who are from West Virginia.
"I've always seen this getting ready for school in the morning, but to be here is surreal," said Smith, who stood for a photo with a broker who said his brother goes to West Virginia.
Smith was joined by teammate Stedman Bailey, West Virginia school president Jim Clements, athletic director Oliver Luck and coach Dana Holgorsen.
Nassib, an accounting major, said it was a highlight of the week for him.
"It was pretty cool, I'm not gonna lie," said Nassib, who said he understands what takes place on Wall Street. "Not as much as I used to. But I used to intern at an investment brokerage firm up in Syracuse. For a finance guy, coming here is pretty cool."
Home sweet home
Linebacker Doug Rigg is from Oradell, N.J., not far across the Hudson River from Yankee Stadium. He said it was fun to be back near his old neighborhood.
"It feels good. Recognize a lot of the sights," said Rigg. "Grew up around it and went to the Bronx Zoo not too long ago."
Rigg said he didn't think the team was behind too much after having to practice indoors Wednesday.
"We're pretty much getting the work we did yesterday today," said Rigg. "We'll be able to get through it."mobilehome - wvusports