West Virginia has no answer for Syracuse's hurry-up offense. Allowing three trips inside their own 5-yard line, the Mountaineers are lucky to escape with just a 12-7 halftime deficit.
A 33-yard touchdown run by Orangemen running back Prince-Tyson Gulley capped off a first half that saw Syracuse gain 169 yards on the ground. Their no-huddle attack ground down WVU's defense, creating gaps for Gulley and Jerome Smith, who has 90 on 18 carries.
The key sequence of the half occurred with less than nine minutes left before the break. A four-down, goal-line stand by the Mountaineers was wiped out by Geno Smith's inability to avoid tacklers in the end zone, giving Syracuse two points and good field position. That field position led to Gulley's touchdown run and a 12-0 Syracuse lead.
Geno Smith and the Mountaineers countered late in the half with a 32-yard strike to Stedman Bailey, the receiver's 24th TD of the season.
The scoreless first quarter was just the eighth such period for the Mountaineers this season, out of the 50 they have played.