Pinstripe Bowl Notebook: Mountaineers make no excuses for poor performance

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NEW YORK -- West Virginia players said Saturday they felt prepared heading into the Pinstripe Bowl and were inspired by the snowy conditions, harkening back to a win at Rutgers a year ago in the snow.

Instead, the weather clearly stymied the Mountaineers' game plan in a 38-14 loss against Syracuse.

The offense managed 285 total yards, 88 on the ground.

"When we saw it started snowing, we thought of Rutgers last year. We knew how we approached the game hitting hard and, hopefully, would come out with a win but we didn't," senior receiver Tavon Austin said

Austin, who had emerged as a running threat in the final few games of the regular season, was unable to make something out of nothing.

"I knew it was going to be difficult. The big things I did all got called back. You've got to keep pushing,"

The players arrived in the city Christmas night after taking several days off, then was forced to practice in the ballroom of their midtown Manhattan hotel Wednesday. The Mountaineers had one practice outdoors in New York before the game, but players insisted they were prepared.

"I felt like we were well prepared and ready," receiver Stedman Bailey said "Syracuse did a good job of executing their game plan. Like I said, we didn't do a good job responding to adversity, and it hurt us."

No Garrison finish

It's unclear why sophomore running back Dustin Garrison never got into the game.

West Virginia struggled to run the ball, getting just 54 yards from Austin, 33 from Andrew Buie, 15 from Shawne Alston.

Last chance for Pinstripe?

New York Yankees president Randy Levine said the Pinstripe Bowl has one year left on a contract with the Big East and Big 12.

West Virginia was never in the game as a member of the Big East, but, ironically, the Mountaineers were pitted against a former league rival the first year they played the Big 12.

"The Big East and Big 12 have been sensational, but we'll have to visit it in a year," said Levine.

Organizers tout game

Levine said some 41,000 tickets were sold for the game, which would have pleased the late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. Levine said the bowl, in its third year, has contributed somewhere between $25 million to $30 million to the New York economy.

"It has far exceeded all of our aspirations," Levine said before the game.

"We're playing this game because of the Boss. This is a tribute to him. He loved college football."

Attendance was announced as 39,098. It also was announced that 41,203 tickets were sold.

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