After beginning the 2012 season with a 2-4 record, the Syracuse football team (7-5, 5-2 Big East) ended its record-breaking regular season by going 5-1. The Orange became bowl eligible after finishing up the season with three straight wins against No. 11/10 Louisville, at Missouri and at Temple. During the regular season, nine team records were set or tied.
The Orange has set the following records this season: total offense (5,681), yards per game (473.4), total plays (939), passing yards (3,619), passing yards per game (301.6), completions (283), pass attempts (449) and first downs (276). SU tied the school record for touchdown passes set in 1998 with 24.
Another team record that has the chance to be broken is for average yards per play which was set at 6.2 during the 1959 and 1987 season. Syracuse currently averages 6.1 yards per play.
Senior quarterback Ryan Nassib has also broken numerous Orange and Big East records in 2012. Nassib holds every major career and single-season passing record (except career TD passes) in SU history, including most attempts (1,289), completions (780) and yards (9,060). He also has 3,748 yards of total offense in 2012, another Orange season record. Nassib ranks first in completions and pass attempts in the Big East career record book.
Another impressive fact about this season's offense is that it's the only second time in school history that the Orange has had a 1,000-yard rusher (Jerome Smith) and a 1,000-yard receiver (Alec Lemon). This first time that feat was accomplished was in 1989 with Michael Owens and Rob Moore.
Lemon has also set a few records of his own. The wide receiver ranks first on SU's career receptions list with 199 and holds the two highest totals for receptions in a season with 70 (2012) and 68 (2011). He also ranks second in school history in receiving yards with 2,589.
West Virginia went 7-5 under second-year head coach Dana Holgorsen in 2012, its first season in the Big 12. The Mountaineers scored at least 31 points in 10 of their 12 games this season, ranking seventh in the country with 41.6 points per game. This marks their 11th straight bowl appearance.
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 Austion 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.