Syracuse (8-5) will enter the Atlantic Coast Conference on a roll after finishing this season with six wins in its last seven games, capped by its second postseason victory at Yankee Stadium in the last three years.
In a bowl game played in a baseball stadium with weather better suited for a playoff game in Green Bay, the team that plays in a dome ended up being better equipped to handle the elements.
The Orange leaned on their running game to plow through former Big East rival West Virginia (7-6) and the snow. Jerome Smith added 158 yards rushing.
Geno Smith connected with Stedman Bailey for two touchdown passes, but the Mountaineers’ quarterback also was sacked in the end zone in the first half and called for intentional grounding in the end zone in the second half as he tried to avoid another sack.
Smith, who was an early Heisman Trophy front-runner as the Mountaineers got off to a 5-0 start this season, was 18 for 26 for 197 yards in the final game of his record-breaking career. The NFL awaits.
Same goes for Ryan Nassib, though Syracuse didn’t ask much of its talented senior quarterback. He threw two touchdown passes and an interception. His most impressive feat on this day was surviving being driven into the frozen turf by Terence Garvin on a sack in the first half. Nassib missed only one play.
FIGHT HUNGER BOWL
Arizona State 62, Navy 28
SAN FRANCISCO — Taylor Kelly threw four touchdown passes and ran for a fifth score to lead Arizona State to its first bowl win in seven years, a 62-28 victory over Navy in the Fight Hunger Bowl on Saturday.
Offensive MVP Marion Grice ran for 159 yards and two touchdowns for the Sun Devils (8-5), who used their fast-paced spread offense to score touchdowns on their first nine possessions.
That helped provided a bright end to a successful first season at Arizona State for coach Todd Graham, who helped the Sun Devils win their most games since 2007 and win a bowl for the first time since the 2005 Insight Bowl against Rutgers. The Sun Devils also capped their season by beating rival Arizona and winning a bowl, a feat they had accomplished just once in the past 33 seasons.
The Midshipmen (8-5) have lost five of their last six bowl games. Among the few highlights for Navy were Keenan Reynolds’ 3-yard TD pass to Matt Aiken in the first half and a 95-yard kickoff return for a score by Gee Gee Greene in the third quarter.
ARMED FORCES BOWL
Rice 33, Air Force 14
FORT WORTH, Texas — Freshman quarterback Driphus Jackson threw for 264 yards in relief of Rice’s hurt starter, including two touchdown passes to Jordan Taylor, and the Owls beat Air Force 33-14 in the Armed Forces Bowl on Saturday.
Jackson’s first series after taking over for Taylor McHargue ended with a bad pitch for a fumble near the goal line only 2 seconds before halftime, when the Owls (7-6) trailed 14-7.
But Jackson made up for it after halftime, when Rice scored 26 unanswered points. Taylor caught nine passes for 153 yards, with a 16-yard TD from McHargue in the first quarter.
McHargue never returned because of an apparent head injury after a helmet-to-helmet collision with about 5 minutes left in the first half.
Air Force (6-7), which scored on consecutive drives in the second quarter with backup quarterback Kale Pearson in the game, was held to a season-low 214 total yards.
On Rice’s opening drive of the second half, Jackson had consecutive completions of 25 and 22 yards before a 2-yard keeper and then a 22-yard TD to Taylor.
The Owls went ahead to stay when Jackson had six consecutive completions for 75 yards to set up Charles Ross’ 2-yard TD run on the second play of the fourth quarter for a 21-14 lead.
Texas 31, No. 15 Oregon ST. 27
AUSTIN, Texas — David Ash threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes, the last a 36-yard strike to Marquise Goodman with 2:24 left, to give Texas a 31-27 comeback victory over No. 15 Oregon State in the Alamo Bowl on Saturday night.
The Longhorns (9-4) never led before Goodman scored his second touchdown on a deep post pattern, just a play after Texas converted a fourth-and-1 play to keep its chances alive.
Storm Woods ran for 118 yards and scored two touchdowns for Oregon State (9-4). The Beavers left stunned after looking as though they would wrap up their first 10-win season since 2006.
The victory was a dose of much-needed good news for Texas after coming into the game under a cloud of questions following the suspensions of two players.