Offensive Show Expected At Orange Bowl
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (CBSMiami.com) – If you’re a fan of high-flying offensive fireworks, the 2012 Orange Bowl on Wednesday will be just the bowl game you’ve been waiting on.
The game will feature a matchup between the Big East champion West Virginia Mountaineers against the ACC champion Clemson Tigers. Both the Tigers and Mountaineers feature offenses ranked in the Top 25 in scoring offense, according to cfbstats.com.
Clemson is averaging 33.6 points per game, while West Virginia put up just fewer than 35 points per game in 2011.
West Virginia’s offense, powered by quarterback Geno Smith from Miami-Dade County, put up 341.8 yards per game in 2011. Smith completed 65 percent of his passes for 3,978 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions.
Smith quickly adapted to head coach Dana Holgorsen’s offense. Holgorsen’s offensive ideology developed under former Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach.
It’s essentially a throw-first offense that is still used by Tech, Houston, Oklahoma State, and soon by Washington State.
Smith will be throwing into a tough defense, ranked 36th in the country, according to cfbstats.com. Clemson only allowed 202.9 yards per game, while intercepting 13 passes on the season.
Clemson did it with a combination of an effective pass rush and decent coverage in the secondary.
But, Clemson has faced an offense as potent as West Virginia just once this season when it played Florida State and won in a shootout.
When Clemson has the ball, it all starts with quarterback Tajh Boyd. The sophomore quarterback threw for 3,578 yards, 31 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions.
Boyd quickly adapted to a new offense and put up numbers not seen in recent Clemson history.
Boyd’s primary target this year has been freshman Sammy Watkins. The freshman phenom caught 78 passes for 1,159 yards and 11 touchdowns.
In addition, sophomore DeAndre Hopkins contributed 61 catches for 854 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Clemson’s offense also had a productive running game behind junior Andre Ellington. Clemson’s leading rusher averaged 5 yards per carry and ran for 10 touchdowns and 1,062 yards.
Kickoff for the Orange Bowl is set for an 8:30 p.m. kickoff and can be seen on ESPN.