WVU football: Center Madsen to miss Pinstripe Bowl
NEW YORK -- West Virginia arrived here Tuesday for Saturday's Pinstripe Bowl with all but one player.
Senior center Joey Madsen was the only one of the Mountaineers not to make the trip with the team and a Charleston Daily Mail source said Madsen will miss the game against Syracuse because he's academically ineligible.
Madsen, from Chardon, Ohio, had started 50 of the past 51 games for WVU. The exception was the 2010 Champs Sports Bowl, when he was also ruled out because of grades. The school record for starts is 52, set by former center Dan Mozes.
The 6-foot-4, 305-pound Madsen led all of WVU's offensive linemen with 55 knockdowns, or 4.2 per game, this season. He played all but eight of the WVU's 490 snaps on offense this season and was second-team all-Big 12.
Senior John Bassler is listed as Madsen's backup, but WVU (7-5) could go in a different direction.
Senior Jeff Braun, who starts at right guard, can play center. Junior Pat Eger started the first six games at right tackle, but hasn't started there since. He's relieved Braun at right guard when Braun has missed time in games this season and is listed as the backup there. Eger has started 18 times in 27 career games, but all at right tackle.
Junior Nick Kindler started the seventh game of the season at right tackle and junior Curtis Feigt has started the past five.
The Orange (7-5) employ what Coach Dana Holgorsen called a "dial-a-blitz" defense that blitzes on about half of the snaps and likes to mix up the attacks, which demands a certain experience to identify and communicate along the offensive line.
Syracuse ranks No. 61 in sacks per game (2.0) and No. 10 in tackles for a loss per game (7.5). WVU opponents average 1.67 sacks and 7.25 tackles for a loss per game.
In the past two games between the two teams, both WVU losses, Syracuse totaled nine sacks and 17 tackles for a loss.
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.