Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
West Virginia will be without its center, Joe Madsen, after the lineman's grades made him ineligible for the 2012 Pinstripe Bowl. It would have been his final game for West Virginia.
Head coach Dana Holgorsen expressed disappointment in Joe Madsen's ineligibility for the 2012 Pinstripe Bowl, but eventually put the blame on the senior center for failing to make the grades necessary to play in what would have been his last collegiate game.
Madsen has started 50 of the team's last 51 games and earned second-team all-Big 12 honors. The only game he missed was a similar situation, when he missed the Champs Sports Bowl in 2010 for academic reasons. Holgorsen wasn't pleased to leave the top lineman at home for the bowl game, but as Mike Casazza of the Daily Mail writes, the coach knew it had to be done:
"We're disappointed that he didn't take care of business," Holgorsen said. "The expectation for our guys is to go to class, get good grades, leave West Virginia with a good, quality education and a degree."
With Madsen out, the team will turn to fellow senior Jeff Braun, the right guard, to slide over to the center spot, while former starter Pat Eger will likely slide in at right guard. Quarterback Geno Smith didn't have any worries about his potential protection in his final game as a Mountaineer, but wouldn't criticize his longtime teammate for the academic slip-up:
"I spoke to him," quarterback Geno Smith said. "Joey is Joey. He understands he let the team down, but that he also let himself down and let his family down. That's enough for me. I don't want to get on the guy."
West Virginia plays Syracuse in the Pinstripe Bowl Saturday afternoon.