Orange Bowl 2012: Grading West Virginia Win Against the Clemson Tigers
We expected a ton of points in the BCS Orange Bowl, and that's exactly what we got. What we didn't expect was such a lopsided score, and surprisingly we got that as well.
West Virginia won the game by a score of 70-33, and left many Tigers fans stunned.
This was a huge win for the Mountaineers as they are likely headed to the tough Big 12 conference. This is an extremely disappointing loss for Clemson and will likely have them wondering what went wrong all offseason.
As another bowl game is in the record books, here are the grades handed out for the West Virginia Mountaineers.
All you have to do is look at how many points this Mountaineers team scored, and you'll know what grade they're going to get. This team scored 70 points, which is the most of any team ever in the history of bowl games. The football team fell just five points shy of what their basketball program is averaging this season.
Geo Smith and company broke not just nearly every Orange Bowl record, but shattered overall bowl records as well. Tavon Austin had over 150 total yards and four touchdowns.
We could go on and on about the offense, they simply put on one of the greatest offensive performances of all time.
The defense may not get much love because of their offensive explosion, but this unit also played extremely well. You're talking about a Clemson team that scored at least 35 points eight times this season, and the Mountaineers held them to 33.
They made things extremely difficult for quarterback Tajh Boyd, and forced four turnovers. The key play in this game was the forced fumble on Tigers running back Andre Ellington, which was returned for a 99-yard touchdown. That was the turning point in the game and was a 14-point swing.
Clemson still had 443 total yards on offense, but overall the Mountaineers played very well on defense.
West Virginia's special teams didn't have to do much in this one because their offense and defense did all of the work. Kicker Tyler Bitancurt did make all 10 of his extra points, and punter Corey Smith pinned to kicks inside the 20-yard line.
They also held the Tigers' kick-return average to under 20 yards. Overall, a solid job.
How can Dana Holgorsen not get a great grade for his team's performance? This was his first season and he led the Mountaineers to a BCS bowl victory. He took a team that many called overrated and absolutely destroyed one of the top ACC teams.
There were really no risky calls or anything. He simply put his team out there and took it to the ACC Champions. You have to really hand it to Holgorsen and his staff for having this team as prepared as he did. They were on a mission and they accomplished it and made it look easy at times.
Just an incredible performance all the way around.
What's really left to say about the Mountaineers' performance?
They played very well on every side of the ball. They ended up not just beating a team that many predicted would win, but they manhandled them. This was an embarrassing loss for the Tigers that will give them nightmares all offseason. But it's a fantastic win for the West Virginia program that can build off this victory heading into the Big 12.
If anybody questioned this team before, they may be having second thoughts about it now.
Randy Chambers is a B/R Featured Columnist who covers College Football and the NFL. You can contact him @Randy_Chambers or Randy.Chambers7@yahoo.com