MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – The 2012 Discover Orange Bowl was supposed to be about offense. Unfortunately for Clemson, only West Virginia’s offense showed up and proceeded to slaughter the Tigers, 70-33.
Clemson’s blowout loss further damaged the BCS reputation of the Atlantic Coast Conference, which hasn’t had a team win the national title since Florida State won it in 1999.
Overall, the ACC won just two bowl games in the current bowl season.
West Virginia blew the game open in the second quarter by scoring 35 points en route to a 49-20 halftime lead.
It’s not that Clemson wasn’t moving the ball, but they could muster no defense for West Virginia’s attack.
“Our guys felt like they weren’t getting too much credit,” West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said. “And they wanted to make a statement in this game.”
Consider the statement a resounding success as the Mountaineers firmly established themselves as a top 20 team heading into the 2012 season.
Plus, the victory vaults West Virginia into the Big XII Conference, if they can clear up their departure from the Big East Conference.
Clemson was playing in its first major bowl game in 30 years and based on the performance given in Miami Wednesday night, it may be that long before the Tigers are invited back to a big-time bowl game.
“It won’t be 30 years,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “We’ll be back.”
West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, who grew up in the shadows of Sun Life Stadium, completed 31 of 42 passes for 401 yards and 6 touchdowns.
His passing numbers broke the record at the Orange Bowl held by New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.