No. 23 West Virginia to represent Big East in Orange Bowl against No. 15 Clemson
Published: Sunday, December 4, 2011
Updated: Sunday, December 4, 2011 23:12
The No. 23 West Virginia football team will make its third trip to a BCS bowl game in seven years when it squares off with No. 15 Clemson.
It will be the 11th straight bowl appearance for WVU and the first BCS appearance for Mountaineer head coach Dana Holgorsen as well as Clemson coach Dabo Swinney.
If there's one thing the two coaches can agree on, it's that when the two square off in Miami it should be an exciting contest.
"I'd be surprised if there's not some points scored in this one," Swinney said. "I don't think it will be a 6-3 ball game like some of the other games.
"This should be an exciting game for the fans."
Both teams have been known for their offenses this season and average more than 400 yards per game. Most of those yards have come through the air, with both teams ranked in the top 15 nationally in passing offense.
The Mountaineers' 4,102 passing yards is good for seventh best in the country, while the Tigers come into the game ranked No. 13 with 3,702 yards.
When they take the field, it could come down to which defense is able to step up, and make the most plays.
"The only way you can win a game is if, defensively, you can stop people," Holgorsen said. "We're pretty good defensively, and I think Clemson's pretty good defensively and I think the one that gets the most stops, and the one that creates the most turnovers is probably going to be the one that wins the game."
The game will be a homecoming for numerous WVU players who hail from South Florida.
That list of players includes junior quarterback Geno Smith, redshirt sophomore wide receiver Stedman Bailey, sophomore wide receiver Ivan McCartney and redshirt senior defensive lineman Josh Taylor. They all graduated from Miramar High School, which is located just three miles away from Sun Life Stadium.
"I'm sure they're excited," Holgorsen said. "I want them to be excited about going to the game and playing the game. We're not going to treat it like a vacation, we obviously want to have a good time down there and let them enjoy it.
"We've still got to get our work done in preparing and do the best that we can to make it a competitive game."
With a month remaining before the game takes place, both teams will take a little bit of time off before getting back to business and preparing for the game.
Holgorsen, who likes to keep the way his team prepares consistent, doesn't think the long layoff will affect his team too much.
"You've got to give them some time off. But you've still got to get some work done. You can't take two weeks off and expect to have your timing right," he said. "You've got to balance a couple of things."