Mountaineers squeeze out records in Miami
January, 5, 2012
Robert Mayer/US PresswireThe West Virginia offense did most of the heavy lifting in a record-setting Orange Bowl on Wednesday night.
West Virginia broke six team records and four individual records on the way to a 70-33 win over the Clemson Tigers. Five of those records had been set or tied during last week’s Alamo Bowl, and the number of records set rises when compared only with other BCS bowl games.
Mountaineers quarterback Geno Smith tied three bowl records. He threw for six touchdown passes to tie Chuck Long, who did the same in the 1984 Freedom Bowl for the Iowa Hawkeyes. His other two records, touchdowns responsible for and points responsible for, matched Keith Price’s Alamo Bowl records for the Washington Huskies. All three established new marks for BCS bowl games.
Also on the individual honor roll, Tavon Austin set an Orange Bowl record and tied a record for any bowl game with four touchdown receptions.
Austin and the West Virginia receivers did most of their damage after the catch. Smith completed nearly 80 percent of his throws of less than 10 yards, and all six passing touchdowns came on short tosses.
As a team, West Virginia now holds most of the point-related records in bowl games. The Mountaineers scored 35 points in the second quarter, 49 points in the first half and 70 points in the game. All three set new standards, as did the 69 points the teams combined for in the first half. West Virginia’s 10 touchdowns broke the record for most in a game, previously set by the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the 2000 Alamo Bowl for the most in a bowl.
The two teams combined for 103 points. While that was well short of the record for a bowl game, it easily set the record for a BCS bowl. In a trend that is likely to reverse in the BCS Championship Game, three of the seven highest scoring BCS bowl games have taken place this season.
With Clemson's loss, the ACC falls to 2-13 all-time in BCS bowl games, the worst record among Automatic-Qualifying leagues.
As we look back on the Orange Bowl and start to look forward to the BCS Championship Game between the LSU Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide, here are some things that are unlikely to be repeated in New Orleans on Monday.
• West Virginia scored 10 touchdowns against Clemson Alabama (12) and LSU (14) each barely allowed that many touchdowns in the entire season.
• Geno Smith threw for six touchdowns For the Alabama (6) and LSU (7) defenses, that’s a full season’s worth.
• Clemson allowed six offensive touchdowns in the first half Neither Alabama (5) nor LSU (6) allowed more in every first half this season combined.
• Clemson allowed 49 first-half points against West Virginia Alabama has allowed just 54 points in the first half this season.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Thanks to RJLARIAT (comments below) for pointing out the error in this post, which has been corrected. West Virginia's 10 touchdowns against Clemson did indeed set a record for bowl games, breaking the mark of 9 set by Nebraska against Northwestern in the 2000 Alamo Bowl.