WVU, Syracuse coaches say they know their respective teams in for tough battle

West Virginia University Coach Dana Holgorsen, left, and Syracuse Coach Dino Babers talk about the matchup between their schools in Friday's Camping World Bowl in Orlando. (WCHS/WVAH)

West Virginia and Syracuse coaches gave their thoughts on the matchup between the schools as game time nears in the Camping Bowl in Orlando.

“It got my attention real quick,” WVU Coach Dana Holgorsen said during a joint news conference Wednesday with Syracuse Coach Dino Babers. “We expect a lot of up-tempo, fast-paced offensive stuff, but then you look at them on defense and special teams and they get your attention real quick on those sides of the ball. Really a tough opponent and a great football team.”

WVU goes into Friday’s game with a record of 8-3, while Syracuse is 9-3. The Mountaineers will try to rebound after dropping the last two games of the season to Oklahoma State and then to Oklahoma.

The Mountaineers will be playing without star quarterback Will Grier and receiver Gary Jennings.

Both coaches said they have enjoyed the Camping World Bowl experience and realize they will be challenged by their respective opposition.

Babers, Syracuse’s coach, called West Virginia one of the most explosive teams.

“Dana does a fantastic job of breaking people down and putting those guys in key matchups to score points, and you can see it throughout the season,” Babers said.

Friday’s meeting is the first between the two old rivals since 2012 in New York City. That also was a bowl game as Syracuse topped West Virginia in the Pinstripe Bowl.

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