Dec. 4, 2011
CLEMSON, SC – Clemson (10-3) will face West Virginia (9-3) in the Discover Orange Bowl on Wednesday, January 4 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL. It will be Clemson’s first trip to the Discover Orange Bowl since the 1981 season when the Tigers defeated Nebraska, 22-15, to win the National Championship.
The game will be televised by ESPN and start at 8 PM.
“We are very excited to represent the ACC in the Discover Orange Bowl,” said Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney. “We are especially happy to be in the Discover Orange Bowl because it is the site of our greatest accomplishment in the history of the program 30 years ago this season.
“I want to congratulate the West Virginia program on getting to this game in Coach (Dana) Holgorsen’s first year as head coach. Getting to a BCS bowl in your first year is very rare. They have an outstanding team, one that is similar to ours when it comes to offensive production.”
Clemson enters the Discover Orange Bowl as the ACC Champion, while West Virginia was co-champion of the Big East. West Virginia was ranked 23rd in the final BCS ranking, the highest among the Big East Champions and thereby earned the bid.
Overall, this will be Clemson’s fourth trip to the Discover Orange Bowl. Clemson is 2-1 in previous appearances. The Tigers defeated Miami (FL) 15-14 in the Orange Bowl at the end of the 1950 season, then lost to Colorado, 27-21 in the Orange bowl at the end of the 1956 season. This will be West Virginia’s first appearance in the Discover Orange Bowl.
This will be the second meeting between Clemson and West Virginia on the gridiron. Clemson won the previous meeting, 27-7, in the 1989 Gator Bowl. Clemson was ranked 14th and West Virginia was ranked 17th entering that game. Clemson will enter this game ranked 14th in both polls again, while West Virginia is 23rd in AP and 22nd in USA Today.
In the previous meeting Clemson clinched the game in the fourth quarter when then freshman Chester McGlockton sacked West Virginia quarterback Major Harris and jarred the ball loose. McGlockton, who died last week in California, then recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchdown. Clemson wore McGlockton’s #91 on their helmets during the ACC Championship game.
This will be Clemson’s 34th appearance in a bowl game, the seventh consecutive year the Tigers have been selected. Clemson has 16 career bowl victories, tied for 18th best in college football history.
Clemson will enter the Discover Orange Bowl coming off a 38-10 victory over Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship game. That victory elevated Clemson to a 10-3 record overall and a number-15 final ranking in the BCS. It ties for Clemson’s highest final ranking in the BCS. The Tigers were also ranked 15th in the final 2007 BCS ranking.
The game will feature two of the top offenses in the nation. Clemson is 21st in the nation in passing yards per game with 285, while West Virginia is seventh with 342 yards per game. Both team average at least 33 points per game and over 440 yards per game.
Both quarterbacks are among the best in the nation in terms of passing efficiency and total offense. Clemson’s Tajh Boyd is 18th in total offense yards per game with a school record total, while West Virginia’s Geno Smith is ninth in the nation in total offense.
Two of the top four all-purpose players in the nation also will be on display. Tavon Austin of West Virginia averages 191.2 yards per game to rank second in the nation in all-purpose yards, while Clemson’s Sammy Watkins is fourth with 173 yards per game. Both players are also in the top 25 in the nation in receptions per game and kickoff returns.
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