What Happened: One of the biggest embarrassments in bowl game history, for starters. Already out of the game by halftime, the Clemson Tigers fell in a fashion never seen before in a BCS game, 70-33 to the West Virginia Mountaineers, in the Discover Orange Bowl. The Mountaineers, who had scored 75 points total in their previous three games, racked up nearly 600 offensive yards against Clemson’s historically porous defense in this one. WVU Quarterback Geno Smith tied a bowl record with six touchdown passes and the team also set a new record for points in a postseason game. Leading just 28-20 with five minutes to go in the first half, West Virginia delivered an early knockout blow, with three touchdowns to close out the period. Their first-half output alone eclipsed the total points scored in yesterday’s Sugar Bowl. Most damning for Clemson is that it could have been so much worse had their opponent not taken their foot off the gas by late in the third.
Who’s to Blame: Pretty much anyone associated with the Clemson football team, honestly. West Virginia was a good team this season, but not stellar by any stretch of the imagination — and surely not the worldbeaters we saw tonight. Head coach Dabo Swinney did not have his defense prepared for the speed at which the Mountaineers could score, and he still has yet to differentiate the offense. In this contest specifically, running back Andre Ellington was moving the ball very well (10 carries for 116 yards), but then everything switched gears to quarterback Tajh Boyd. Failing to connect with his receivers (star Sammy Watkins recorded just five catches for 66 yards and a score), the offense stalled, along with Clemson’s chances during the wild second quarter in which WVU scored 35 points. Continue reading