BCS Orange Bowl: Latest News, Notes and Analysis for West Virginia vs. Clemson

Randy ChambersAnalyst IJanuary 3, 2012

BCS Orange Bowl: Latest News, Notes and Analysis for West Virginia vs. Clemson

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    Now that we have entered a new year, that means that the more appealing bowl games are ready to kick off. One of those top bowl games of the year of course is the BCS Orange Bowl.

    It features the winner of the Big East and the ACC conferences.

    The Clemson Tigers are 10-3 and started the season off with an eight game winning streak. Although they lost three of the final five games, they have one of the most explosive offenses in the country averaging 33 points per contest.

    West Virginia finished the regular season 9-3 and won the Big East. The Mountaineers may have lost to a couple of sub-par teams like Louisville and Syracuse. But they also have a great offense that averages 35 points per game. 

    There is no question that this should be a high-scoring game. You can expect a lot of fireworks and offensive lovers everywhere should not miss this game.

    As we get closer and closer to game time, here are a few news, notes and analysis leading up to the game.

Running Back Shawne Alston Will Replace Dustin Garrison

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    West Virginia struggled running the ball when they were healthy, averaging only 117 yards on the ground a game. So the last thing the Mountaineers needed was their leading rusher Dustin Garrison to go down with an injury. He will end up missing this game after surgery on his knee.

    That now opens the door for junior running back Shawne Alston.

    Alston has the most rushing touchdowns on the team with 10, but has only 139 touches throughout his whole career. He is up to the task as he will become the starter for this game.

    I really don’t feel any pressure on my back. Alston said. I just want to go out there and show what I can do. Sometimes people will get nervous when they get more responsibility. This is a moment that I have lived for and I feel prepared. It is just a matter of going out on the field and playing.

    Freshman Andrew Buie who is the faster back between the two, will get some carries as well to change the pace.

Brodrick Jenkins and Sammy Watkins Have History

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    Although Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins and West Virginia cornerback Brodrick Jenkins may not matchup together every time, they will provide great entertainment when they do. 

    Jenkins and Watkins both played for the same high school out in Fort Meyers, Florida. Jenkins is now the starting quarterback for the Mountaineers and Watkins is of course one of the top freshman in the country for Clemson.

    This is more than a homecoming for both of them, this is a battle that both players are greatly looking forward to.

    "I wanted to be like him when I got there and the coaches always talked about him," Watkins said. "Then I followed him in high school and got better than him - I would say I got way better than him at my position."

    Let the battle begin.

DeAndre Hopkins Will Likely Play

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    Besides Sammy Watkins, there is another great receiver for Clemson by the name of DeAndre Hopkins. Well, as we was driving to the stadium to prepare for the Tigers trip to the Orange Bowl, he was involved in a car accident. Although not seriously hurt, he did suffer a concussion and was questionable for the big game.

    Good news for Tigers fans is that Hopkins will likely play.

    Hopkins is a sophomore receiver that has 62 catches for 871 yards and four touchdowns.

Which Team Will Show Up?

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    Both of these teams have shown two different sides.

    We've seen Clemson play outstanding the first eight weeks of the year, scoring over 30 points in seven of those eight victories. But we've also seen them lose three of the last five games, including to unranked Georgia Tech and North Carolina State.

    West Virginia averaged a lot of points this year as well and destroyed a lot of their competition. They even played the undefeated LSU Tigers pretty well also. But they lost to Louisville and gave up 49 points to Syracuse.

    We know what both of these teams are capable of, but we don't know which team will show up. Hopefully they both do and provide us with a fantastic Orange Bowl.

Hope You Like Offense

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    Many don't like the national championship matchup because of the lack of offense it will possibly feature. This game is likely to be the complete opposite as both teams are extremely high-scoring. Combined these two teams average 68 points per contest.

    What I'll be watching is the quarterback play, as this game features two great ones in Tajh Boyd and Geno Smith. Boyd has thrown for over 3,500 yards and 35 touchdowns, while Smith has thrown for nearly 4,000 yards and 25 touchdowns.

    Although the stats may not show it this season, they are also both capable of killing you with their legs.

    Whichever team ends up winning this game, may come down to which quarterback plays better and makes the fewer mistakes.

    Randy Chambers is a B/R Featured Columnist that covers College Football and the NFL. You can contact him @Randy_Chambers or Randy.Chambers7@yahoo.com