Big East Football: West Virginia and Clemson Set to Square off in Orange Bowl

By Alex Callos

The West Virginia Mountaineers are the fourth Big East team to take the field in a bowl game and will be looking to make the Big East an even 7-7 all-time in BCS Bowl Games.

No. 23 West Virginia (9-3) will be taking on No. 15 Clemson (10-3) out of the ACC.

The ACC is 2-13 all-time in BCS bowls and Clemson will be looking to represent the conference well.

One thing is for certain. Both of these conferences will be looking for a little respect when they take the field tonight.

The Mountaineers are led by a high-flying, explosive offense that averages nearly 35 points a game, ranking them in the top 20 in the country.

West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith was a first-team all-Big East selection and has passed for 3.978 yards and 25 touchdowns with only seven interceptions.

His two big targets are receivers Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin. Bailey has 67 receptions for 1,197 yards and seven touchdowns on the season. Austin has 1,063 yards and four touchdowns with a team-leading 89 receptions.

Austin was the Big East special teams player of the year and a third-team all-American.

All three will be back next season and that could mean big things for West Virginia in 2012.

When the Mountaineers run the ball, running back Dustin Garrison has rushed for 742 yards and six touchdowns. The freshman running back has been impressive all season for West Virginia averaging 5.5 yards per carry.

The Clemson offense can put up some points also. They average nearly 34 points a game and are one of the top 25 scoring offenses in the country.

Clemson is led by quarterback Tajh Boyd. Boyd has passed for 3,578 yards and 31 touchdowns with 10 interceptions.

This game has all the makings of being a high-flying shootout, but there are certain to be a few turnovers.

Whichever team can win the turnover battle will likely come out on top.

While these two teams are not as talented as some of the others in the BCS Bowl games, this game has all the makings of being close just like the previous three.

This game will come down to one big play with Clemson having the slight edge.

Prediction: Clemson 33, West Virginia 27



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