West Virginia's high-powered offense is led by quarterback Geno Smith, who has been selected as a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and the Manning Award. Junior receiver Stedman Bailey was recently named one of three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award, after leading the nation with 23 receiving touchdowns. Fellow receiver and 2012 All-American Tavon Austin is second in the nation in all-purpose yardage and has scored four different ways in 2012 -- three rushing touchdowns, 12 receiving, one by punt return and one by kickoff return, becoming the first player in West Virginia history to accomplish the feat.
"We finished the season strong with two straight wins, and I am glad our players get the reward of playing in a bowl game," West Virginia Head Football Coach Dana Holgorsen said. "This will be West Virginia's 11th straight bowl appearance and one more chance for our fans to see the 2012 Mountaineers. Playing in New York City will provide a national stage and Yankee Stadium will be a great venue for our seniors to finish their careers."
Syracuse leads the all-time series vs. West Virginia, 32-27, winning the last two meetings after eight straight Mountaineer wins from 2002-09. Before 2012, the two teams had met annually since 1955, playing for the Ben Schwartzwalder Trophy, since it was established in 1993.
"I am pleased that our football team will get the reward of playing in a bowl game. Changing conferences has been an adjustment, and I am proud of how our players have handled themselves and prepared," Director of Athletics Oliver Luck said. "I am also excited for our fans, who will get the chance to visit a great city in close proximity to the state of West Virginia. I am looking forward to seeing Yankee Stadium filled with Gold and Blue."
For the Mountaineers, this will mark their fifth college football game at the home of the New York Yankees. The Mountaineers played the second-ever college football game in the original Yankee Stadium on Oct. 27, 1923, playing to a 13-13 tie with Penn State. Their last contest at the House that Ruth Built came on Oct. 18, 1947, a 40-0 win over NYU.
West Virginia football at Yankee Stadium
- Oct. 27, 1923 West Virginia - 13, Penn State - 13
- Nov. 6, 1928 West Virginia - 18, Fordham - 0
- Nov. 19, 1938 Manhattan College - 13, West Virginia - 0
- Oct. 18, 1947 West Virginia - 40, NYU - 0
"An exciting West Virginia football team in the 2013 New Era Pinstripe Bowl vs. Syracuse pits two high-powered offenses with elite talent on both sides of the ball, setting up to be one of the premier bowl-game matchups this season" said Mark Holtzman, Yankees Executive Director of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. "The Mountaineers players, alumni and fans will surely enjoy an exciting bowl week in New York City and a memorable game in Yankee Stadium."
Tickets for the New Era Pinstripe Bowl are currently available at newerapinstripebowl.com, the official Web site of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, where fans can access up-to-the-moment information regarding the game and sign up to volunteer.
Kickoff for the New Era Pinstripe Bowl is scheduled for 3:15 p.m. ET on Saturday, December 29. The game will be nationally televised by ESPN, which has also secured national and local radio rights for ESPN Radio. There is a four-year agreement, extending through 2013, for the Big East and Big 12 to participate in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.
The New Era Pinstripe Bowl week of festivities will begin on Wednesday, December 26 with players, coaches and university staff taking part in a variety of events in the days leading up to the game, showcasing their respective universities to the New York metropolitan area. Special events, promotions and community outreach will take place throughout New York City during the week of the bowl game to once again create an unforgettable experience for fans, families, players and staffs of the two teams.
In conjunction with the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, Yankee Stadium will host the 2012 PSAL Football Championship Game on Tuesday, December 4 at 5:00 p.m., pitting Erasmus Hall (Brooklyn) vs. Tottenville (Staten Island) for the city championship. This will mark the third consecutive year that the league's title game will be held in Yankee Stadium. In addition, the 2012 MVP Scholar Athletes from each of the five boroughs of New York City will be recognized on field during the New Era Pinstripe Bowl.
In addition to the annual New Era Pinstripe Bowl, the current Yankee Stadium has played host to the two other college football games. In 2010, Notre Dame and Army reunited their historic rivalry in the Bronx with a 27-3 Fighting Irish victory, and in 2011, Rutgers defeated Army, 27-12, as the two teams met at the home of the Yankees for the first time since 1948. Last month, it was announced that Yankee Stadium would be the host for the 150th meeting between Lafayette College and Lehigh University on November 22, 2014. Additionally in 2014, Army will host Boston College at Yankee Stadium.
Prior to the inception of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl in 2010, the last college football bowl game had been played in the Bronx in 1962 when Nebraska edged Miami (Fla.), 36-34, in the Gotham Bowl at the original Yankee Stadium.
The original Yankee Stadium played host to a number of college football games from the year it opened in 1923, including New York University and Fordham home games and the two schools' annual matchup. From 1925-46, and again in 1969, the annual Notre Dame-Army football game took place at Yankee Stadium, including the memorable "win one for the Gipper" matchup in 1928, and the 1946 contest which ended in a scoreless tie and featured four Heisman Trophy winners (Doc Blanchard, Glenn Davis, Johnny Lujack and Leon Hart). From 1968-73 and '76-87, Grambling played a series of home games at Yankee Stadium, known as the Whitney M. Young Urban Classic.