Mountaineers Traveling to Miami's Orange Bowl

Special to HuntingtonNews.Net
MORGANTOWN - Dana Holgorsen is taking his team BCS bowling in his first season as head coach for WVU Mountaineers football. West Virginia will face Clemson in the Discover Orange Bowl on Jan. 4, 2012 in Miami, Fla. The game will be televised by ESPN with an 8 p.m. kickoff.

The Mountaineers finished their regular season with a 9-3 record, their 7th-straight season with at least nine victories. It's the first time WVU has represented the Big East conference in the BCS since the 2007 season when it beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl.

The Tigers began the season on an eight-game winning streak before suffering their first setback to Georgia Tech in October. Head coach Dabo Swinney's squad lost three of four games before rebounding when it counted to come away with a 38-10 win over Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Saturday night.

Swinney is 29-18 in three full seasons with the Tigers after taking over midway through the 2008 season. Clemson beat another Big East team, South Florida, in last year's Meineke Car Care Bowl.

The two programs have met just one time in their histories, also a bowl game, when Clemson took out WVU 27-7 in the 1989 Gator Bowl.

West Virginia will be making its debut appearance in the Orange Bowl and its third appearance in a BCS bowl game. The Mountaineers have won each of their two BCS bowl games, a 38-35 victory over Georgia in the 2006 Sugar Bowl and a 48-28 triumph over the Sooners in the Fiesta.

As the Tigers shot up the rankings earlier in the season, it was behind the stellar play of quarterback Tajh Boyd and freshman receiver Sammy Watkins. Boyd was initially committed to play for West Virginia before reopening his recruiting and ultimately signing with the Tigers.

With the vacancy in its recruiting class, WVU signed current starting quarterback Geno Smith.

Boyd leads the ACC in passing with 3,578 yards and 31 touchdowns thrown to just 10 interceptions. Smith is best in the Big East, throwing for 3,978 yards and 25 scores with seven picks.

Both teams have the most prolific offenses in their respective conferences.

Conversely, the Tigers have given up the fourth-most points in the ACC with an average of 26.2 points against per game. West Virginia has the same points against average, which is second worst in the Big East, ahead of Syracuse.

With the BCS bid, WVU is the only program in the past seven years to win at least nine games each season while playing in three BCS games with at least two wins.

Tickets can be purchased online at

Story Supplied by West Virginia University.

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