WV stomps Clemson at Orange Bowl 70-33 - FOX Carolina 21

WV stomps Clemson at Orange Bowl 70-33

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Clemson players on the field before kickoff at the Discover Orange Bowl game. (Jan. 4, 2012/FOX Carolina) Clemson players on the field before kickoff at the Discover Orange Bowl game. (Jan. 4, 2012/FOX Carolina)
Former Clemson head coach and Orange Bowl Hall of Fame inductee Danny Ford sits on the sidelines during the game. (Jan. 3, 2012/FOX Carolina Former Clemson head coach and Orange Bowl Hall of Fame inductee Danny Ford sits on the sidelines during the game. (Jan. 3, 2012/FOX Carolina
MIAMI (FOX Carolina) -

The Clemson Tigers took on the West Virginia Mountaineers on Wednesday night in the school's first ever BCS game after winning the ACC Championship in December, but were not as successful as their last time they played in Miami.

The Tigers (10-4) fell to the Mountaineers (10-3) 70-33 in a record-breaking loss. The Mountaineers are now 3-0 in all-time BCS games.

West Virginia's explosive, fast-paced offense was too much for the Clemson defense and following several game-changing turnovers, the Tigers were unable to come back from 44-point deficit at one point in the second half.

Though a few Clemson players had their own record-breaking performances, West Virginia's Tavon Austin and Geno Smith proved almost unstoppable, helping add to the highest scoring bowl game in Mountaineer history with 70 points.

Austin had an MVP performance with four touchdowns and 163 all-purpose yards. Adding to their success, quarterback Smith had only 1 turnover and 427 all-purpose yards. In the second half, the Mountaineers outscored the Tigers 35-3.

Clemson Sports Information Director Tim Bourret said West Virginia's 49 points in the first half was the most points scored against Clemson in any half.  The previous record was 41 points scored by Alabama in the second half against the Tigers in 1931. Alabama won that game 74-7 and that is the most points scored against Clemson in a game.

Bourret said Clemson's Hopkins had 10 receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown at the end of the third quarter.  He broke his own Clemson record for receptions in a bowl game.  The previous mark was his nine receptions against South Florida in last year's Meineke Car Care Bowl.

Boyd's 28-yard scoring pass to Hopkins gave him 38 touchdowns rushing and passing this season, an ACC record. 

First Quarter

The Mountaineers kicked off to start the game with the Tigers receiving. Neither team made anything of their first possessions.

On their second possession, Andre Ellington had a 68-yard run for a touchdown, his 11th of the season. Clemson took the first lead 7-0 with 9:33 min left in the quarter.

The Mountaineers responded in the next possession with Shawne Alston running it in to tie the game 7-7 with 6:54 minutes left in the quarter. The Tigers returned again when Sammy Watkins ran it in, giving Clemson the lead at 14-7 with less than 5 minutes in the quarter.

Tavon Austin took the ball into the endzone and a touchdown was called on the field. The play was reviewed but the call stood, tying the score again at 14-14.

During the next possession, pass interference was called on West Virginia after a long pass to DeAndre Hopkins then the next pass was nearly intercepted. Clemson kicked a field goal and went up 17-14.

Clemson finished the season with a 10-4 record, the most wins in a season since 1990 when the Tigers were 10-2.  Clemson finished the season with four wins over top 25 teams, the most in school history.

Second Quarter

West Virginia's Austin ran along the sideline and took it in for a touchdown. Mountaineers regained the lead 21-17 with 13:15 left in the quarter.

Ellington fumbled close to the endzone and West Virginia's Darwin Cook ran it back 99 yards for a touchdown. Mountaineers went up 28-17 with 10:28 left in the quarter.

Seconds later, trainers said Clemson's offensive tackle Phillip Price was out for the rest of the game after a first quarter injury to his bad knee. He suffered a right knee injury earlier in the season.

With just under 5 minutes left in the half, Clemson's Chandler Catanzaro made a 43-yard field goal making the score 28-20.

With 2:29 minutes left in the half, Mountaineer quarterback Geno Smith ran it in for a touchdown, lengthening their lead 35-20. After Clemson got the ball back, West Virginia intercepted Boyd's throw and took possession on Clemson's 32 yard line. Austin ran it in for a touchdown. West Virginia extended their lead to 42-20 with 1:13 left in the half. 

A call on the field was overturned, saying Boyd wasn't down and Clemson lost control of the ball. West Virginia took possession in the red zone with less than a minute in the half. Alston ran it in for the Mountaineer's 5th touchdown of the quarter, taking the lead by 29. Mountaineers led 49-20 at the half.

Third Quarter

After the first half, West Virginia had zero turnovers, 343 total yards and were 5 for 7 in third down efficiency. Clemson had 3 turnovers, 327 total yards and were 2 for 7 in third down efficiency.

Clemson kicked off to the Mountaineers to start the quarter and they moved the ball down the field. The Mountaineer's Stedman Bailey stretched into the endzone for another touchdown, sending West Virginia up to 56-20 with 12:35 left in the quarter.

Austin ran in his fourth touchdown of the night with 9:18 left in the quarter. The Mountaineers scored 35 unanswered points in the second and third quarters raising their lead to 63-20.

Clemson's Rashard Hall intercepted a West Virginia pass, then in a later play Hopkins ran it in for a touchdown and they went for two, but didn't make it. Tigers were down 63-26 with less than 2 minutes left in the quarter.

Fourth Quarter

With another West Virginia touchdown pass caught by Willie Milhouse, the Mountaineers went up 70-26, setting a NCAA record with 70 points scored in a bowl game.

With less than 1:30 on the clock, Clemson scored a touchdown, setting the final score at 70-33.

Road to Miami

After defeating Virginia Tech for the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship, the Clemson team received a bid to play in the Discover Orange Bowl.

In South Florida since Dec. 27, the Tigers (10-3) practiced and prepared in hopes of clenching their first BCS appearance with another Orange Bowl win over the Mountaineers (9-4).

The last time the Tigers played in the Orange Bowl was in the 1981 National Championship game win the Tigers beat Nebraska 22-15. The Tigers were coached by Danny Ford, who will be inducted into the Orange Bowl Hall of Fame during Wednesday night's game.

In a press conference Tuesday, current Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said Ford was the first person he saw in the room and went on to congratulate him and the Tigers past and present.

"I told him they should have put him in the Hall of Fame at least 10 years ago here; we might have made it earlier," Swinney said. "It is really neat to see how this has all come together. For this to be the year that Coach Ford is also being inducted into the Hall of Fame and Clemson makes it back to the Orange Bowl for the first time in 30 years and wins the ACC for the first time in 20 years, it's special."

The Tigers were determined to make it to the post season with the help of several standout players including quarterback Tajh Boyd, wide receiver Sammy Watkins, defensive end Andre Branch and tight end Dwayne Allen.

Swinney said Tuesday the team was prepared and focused, that there have not been any curfew issues or any drama of any kind during the team's entire trip to South Florida.

"It's a sign to me that the leadership has done a great job," said Swinney. "We've been down here for quite a while, and to have 100 something 18- to 22-year-olds storm Miami all at one time for a little over a week, that's pretty impressive."

Clemson faces a tough West Virginia team with their own set of standout players including quarterback Geno Smith and wide receivers Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey.

"They throw the ball for a million yards," Swinney said. "It is like 40 something times a game, and he's completing 65 percent of his passes. We've got to be able to affect the quarterback, and the way to do that, one way is through coverage. You've got to be really disciplined with your coverage."

Even South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley knows it is a big game. She put some Lowcountry shrimp and grits on the line against West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. Haley also bet grits for the University of South Carolina bowl game against Nebraska.

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