The Elements Impact Pinstripe Game Plans

The Elements Impact Pinstripe Game Plans

What was supposed to be a high flying aerial assault turned into anything but as mother nature decided to dump a snow storm on Yankee Stadium during Saturday's Pinstripe Bowl. The weather had a clear impact on how each coaching staff adjusted their game plans.

The 2012 Pinstripe Bowl was billed as a high flying matchup between two of the nation's best passing attacks. Quarterbacks Ryan Nassib and Geno Smith were supposed to put up huge numbers against two porous pass defenses. Mother nature, however, had other plans.

A snow storm attacked Yankee Stadium and altered the game plans.

"Obviously it had some effect," West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen said after the game. "The surface was not good. It was sloppy out there and it was wet. You know, you can't sit there and pinpoint -- the o-line had a hard time of sitting down and receivers had a hart time running routes. It didn't look very good.

"The team with the best running game is going to win and they clearly had the better running game."

Holgorsen was right. On this day, Syracuse ran for 369 yards compared to just 88 for the Mountaineers. The Orange, who like to keep a balanced attack and utilize their passing game, adjusted to the weather by using a power rushing attack. 

By the time the game had finished, Syracuse racked up 65 rushing attempts. Prince-Tyson Gulley had 25 for 208 yards, while Jerome Smith added 157 yards on 30 carries. That type of run heavy attack was not the original game plan, however.

"I think with the system that we run, we have the flexibility to go either way," Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone explained. "Whatever is working for us. It wasn't that things weren't working for us. I think it was a difficult time for not only Ryan but also Geno. He had the ball coming out a little bit."

The slick field conditions combined with the bitter cold made it extremely difficult for these two high powered offenses to get in gear through the air. In fact, the two teams combined for fewer passing yards (339) than Syracuse had rushing yards by itself (369). 

Gulley clearly didn't mind, as he laughed at the snowy conditions on his way to a three touchdown performance and the MVP trophy. 

The weather changed what would have been an entertaining aerial attack into a battle of men in the trenches. Clearly, the bunch from Upstate New York were ready for that fight.

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