Orange Bowl

Mountaineers tame Tigers, 70-33

 
(not rated)

Halftime: WVU 49, Clemson 20

Andrea Adelson, ESPN.com


MIAMI -- West Virginia blew open the Discover Orange Bowl against Clemson with a huge second quarter and leads 49-20 at halftime. Here is a quick first-half analysis.

Turning point: Easy. Clemson running back Andre Ellington was going in for the go-ahead touchdown from the 3-yard line when he fumbled in the middle of a huge scrum. West Virginia safety Darwin Cook picked up the ball and ran 99 yards for a touchdown to give the Mountaineers a 28-17 lead and send all the momentum the Tigers had to a screeching halt. That was the first drive of the game that the Tigers failed to score, and they managed only a field goal the rest of the way.

Stat of the half. 69. The teams set an Orange Bowl and BCS record for total points in a half. The previous record for the Orange Bowl: 48. West Virginia's 49 points in the first half were the most scored by any team in any bowl game ever.

Best player in the half: West Virginia all-everything man Tavon Austin. With three touchdown receptions and 158 total yards, Austin has been everywhere on the field. He has touches as a receiver, running back and kickoff returner, and has been incredibly hard for Clemson to tackle.

What Clemson needs to do: Ask for a do over. The Tigers had three turnovers that led to 21 West Virginia points in the second quarter. They actually ended the quarter with three turnovers on their final four possessions. The Ellington fumble was an absolute killer and essentially began their nightmarish second quarter.

What West Virginia needs to do: Continue to be aggressive. This defense has come to life in the past four games, and now has defensive scores in three of their past four games. This team is playing inspired football right now, and is absolutely dominating in every area. It is an understatement to say this is the team's best game of the year, on the biggest stage of the year.

 

Welcome to the Orange Bowl

 

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- The time for talking has ended. Game time is almost here. A few important notes for you to chew on as West Virginia and Clemson prepare to kick off in the Discover Orange Bowl.

1. The Big Ten is officiating this game. So no talk about the referees having it in for West Virginia because it is en route to the Big 12.

2. Watch for the receiver rotation. Tyler Urban has been banged up, and Brad Starks is out so that means guys like Ivan McCartney, Devon Brown and J.D. Woods are going to have to step up. Also remember Dustin Garrison is out, and he was tied for fourth on the team with 24 receptions. Woods is coming off his most productive game, with four catches for 38 yards against USF.

Coach Dana Holgorsen was asked about Woods this week and said, "

"Well, we gave him a chance. And one of the things that as a head coach you try to get your guys to be accountable for what their actions are, and J.D. wasn't doing a very good job of that from an academic standpoint to a workout standpoint. He thought a lot of stuff was optional, so he wasn't able to play very much. That was carrying over on the field.

"Eleven games later he was functioning right. I guess he wanted to stay playing some football when we were playing in Florida. He's from Naples, so when we went to South Florida he had his best week of practice, we put him in there and he made plays. Then when we get to go to the Orange Bowl, I guess he figured he'd start practicing good again, so he had 15 good practices because he gets to play in Miami. I guess we'll play all our games in Florida and he'll come out and he'll practice well and do what he's supposed to do."

Let's not forget, McCartney is from Miramar, Fla., down the street from Sun Life Stadium.

3. Which young player is going to step up? Take your pick, plenty of young players will be relied upon in this game -- Andrew Buie? Wes Tonkery? Shaq Petteway? McCartney? Right guard Quinton Spain is going to have to have a good game as well to help keep the Clemson pass rush at bay.
 

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