Miami Gardens, FL – If there was a mercy rule in college football they would have called this one at the half. Clemson gave up the most points ever in a half when they gave up 49 to the Mountaineers in the first half. Things didn’t get much better in the second half as West Virginia cruised to a 70-33 victory.
“There were too many mistakes. We got off to a good start, but we couldn’t keep the momentum on defense. Then we got to turning it over and that’s about as good an offensive performance as I’ve seen from a football team. They’ve got some special skills and we couldn’t stop them. It is as simple as that,” said Swinney.
Clemson started the game with good field position as West Virginia kicked the ball out of bounds to start the game. The Tigers went three-and-out when Jaron Brown dropped a pass that would have been a first down. West Virginia picked up two first downs before the Clemson defense got the stop.
The Tigers started their second drive on the four yardline. Boyd hit DeAndre Hopkins for Clemson’s first first down of the game. Dwayne Allen picked up the next first down with a pass over the middle. Andre Ellington put the Tigers on the board with a 68 yard touchdown run. The Tigers drove 96 yards on six plays.
West Virginia responded with a eight play 72 yard drive to tie the game. Shawne Austin scored for the Mountaineers on a four yard run.
Clemson responded with another touchdown drive. Tajh Boyd hit Sammy Watkins for a 27 yard touchdown to put the Tigers back out front. The drive was nine plays for 62 yards taking 2:15 seconds. The Tigers kept the drive alive with a two yard run by Tajh Boyd on 4th and 1.
The shootout was on as West Virginia drove 57 yards on six plays to tie the game at 14.
Clemson responded with another scoring drive. The Tigers drove 40 yards on six plays before Chandler Catanzaro kicked a 42 yard field goal to put Clemson on top 17-14.
The 31 combined points in the first quarter was the most ever in the first quarter of an Orange Bowl. It was the third highest scoring quarter ever for the Orange Bowl.
West Virginia took their first lead of the game on a 27 yard touchdown pass from Geno Smith to Tavon Austin. The Mountaineers drove 80 yards on nine plays to take the lead 21-17.
It looked like the Tigers would regain the lead as they drove 75 yards to the one but West Virginia grabbed a fumble from Andre Ellington and took it 99 yards for the touchdown. As Clemson players held up their hands to signal a touchdown by Ellington Darwin Cook went 99 yards the other way to put West Virginia up 28-17.
Clemson got back on the board with a 43 yard field goal by Chandler Catanzaro. The Tigers drove 56 yards on eight plays in 1:36.
West Virginia wasted no time adding another touchdown to go up 35-20. Geno Smith scored on a seven yard run as the Mountaineers marched 64 yards on six plays.
On Clemson’s next possession Tajh Boyd threw an interception. West Virginia scored in three plays to go up 42-20.
Tajh Boyd fumbled on the next drive for the Tigers at the 18. West Virginia took six plays to score their final touchdown of the half and take a 49-20 lead to the locker room.
West Virginia picked up in the second half where they left off in the first. On the opening drive the Mountaineers went 73 yards on seven plays to go up 56-20.
After the Tigers went three-and-out West Virginia scored another touchdown. This time Geno Smith hit Austin for a 37 yard touchdown putting West Virginia up 63-20.
Clemson scored again on a Tajh Boyd to DeAndre Hopkins touchdown for 28 yards with 1:37 remaining in the third. The touchdown gave Tajh 38 on the season which set an ACC record. The Tigers drove 41 yards on five plays to make it 63-26. The Tigers missed the two point conversion.
West Virginia added one final score with 6:21 remaining when Geno Smith hit Milhouse for a 7 yard touchdown.
The Tigers got a late score on a four yard run by Rod McDowell.
Boyd finished the night going 24-46 for 250 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Tajh hoped the loss wouldn’t overshadow some of the accomplishments for 2011.
“We did a lot of good things this season. As you can see it didn’t end the way we wanted it to end. It is something we can build off in the offseason,” said Boyd.