The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

December 9, 2011

Bowl could be high-scoring shootout

By Mickey Furfari
For The Register-Herald

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia’s football game against Clemson in the 2012 Orange Bowl on Jan. 4 should be a high-scoring shootout.

That’s what the teams’ regular-season stats suggest. The Mountaineers, 9-3 and co-champions of the Big East, averaged 34.9 points per game and the Tigers, 10-3 and ACC champions, 32.5 ppg.

Dana Holgorsen, WVU’s first-year head coach, said, “I think that’s what people like to see — offense. But you’ve got to get stops (defensively) when needed.”

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said, “We both have very capable offenses and have had a lot of success this year. So I’d be surprised if there weren’t some points scored in this one.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a 6-5 ballgame. This should be an exciting game for the fans.”

Holgorsen heartily agreed. He called this a great opportunity for the WVU football program.

Holgorsen continued, “Florida is an important recruiting territory for us, as it is for a whole lot of other people, and this should be a great matchup.

“We’re looking forward to this game and we hope our fans are excited, too. South Florida is going to be a great atmosphere for a BCS game.”

This will be West Virginia’s third BCS appearance in seven years, but first in the Orange Bowl.

In 2007, the Mountaineers upset Georgia 38-35 in the Sugar Bowl at Atlanta, Ga. A year later WVU upset No. 3 Oklahoma 48-28 in the Fiesta Bowl at Glendale, Ariz.

This is only the second meeting with Clemson in football. The Tigers won the first clash in the 1989 Gator Bowl by 27-7.

This will be the Mountaineers’ 10th consecutive postseason bowl game and 31st all-time.

Both WVU and Clemson have pretty good defenses, according to the two head coaches. But at times each has had problems.

Holgorsen said, “The only way to win is for your defense to stop people.”

Swinney thinks the team that creates the most turnovers probably will have the best chance to come out with the victory.