West Virginia’s Record Breaking Orange Bowl Night

Are the Clemson Tigers that bad? Are the West Virginia Mountaineers this good? Probably not, but there’s no getting around the 70-33 humiliation the Mountaineers, on their way out of the Big East, handed the ACC Champions Clemson Tigers, led by Orange Bowl MVP Geno Smith.

Nine, nine bowl records were broken or tied on Wednesday night in Miami. West Virginia tied the record for most touchdowns, 10. Geno Smith threw for six, four caught by Tavon Austin. Smith also ran for another TD, being accounted for seven. The 49-20 half time score was a new record for most combined points at half time. West Virginia broke the record for points as well, with 70. No field goals needed, if you had that thought cross you mind.

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Most points in a quarter, most points in a half. Geno Smith tied the record for individual touchdowns. Tavon Austin tied the record for touchdowns caught. It all came down to the last two and a half minutes of the second quarter, when WVU scored three touchdowns.

The Mountaineers are not national title contenders like they were about four years ago, but there’s no denying the fact that whenever they reach a BCS game, they make the most of it. Dana Holgorsen made that point more than once – I’ve only been there a year, I know, but West Virginia has won three BCS games in the last six years, which is a pretty good track record. West Virginia has been in the Big East for the last six years, last time I checked. So I think that’s a pretty good track record.

Then going through the Big East schedule one year, we had some pretty tough games. We lost a couple of those, and then the ones that we won were tough. So the product at West Virginia was out there. There was a lot of teams in the Big East that gave us all we wanted.

So is the Big East as weak as everyone says? Cincinnati had a very good season and an impressive bowl game finale. It doesn’t have the big names that even the ACC, annual underachievers, has in Miami and Florida State. But they ruled in different times, and it’s a different era now. The Mountaineers, with Geno Smith at the helm, deserved more respect than what a Big East team usually gets.

For Clemson, this wasn’t a humbling experience, it was way way worse. It’s probably as bad a defensive performance as I’ve seen in a long, long, time. It’s incredibly disappointing. (Head coach Dabo Swinney)

Most Clemson players who talked after the game repeated the word embarrassment. It sure was. Missed tackles and blown assignments. As bad as you can get. Four turnovers added to that, one of them coming on the goal line before scoring a touchdown, the real momentum shifter, or killer, of the game.

There were the usual “Running up the score” critics at the end of the game. Why didn’t Holgorsen pull his starters and the usual nonsense. Teams want to break records, player want to be remembered forever, with their names written long after they’re gone from the playing field. If an opponent gets hurt emotionally on the way, it shouldn’t be an issue. This isn’t kiddie football. These guys are maybe amateurs by definition, but that’s only because they don’t get paid. College Football is long gone from an educating stand point. It’s about winning, and why not win big?

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