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NCAA Football

Orange Bowl: West Virginia Lays the Beat Down on Clemson

If that was the last game West Virginia ever plays as a member of the Big East, it will certainly be remembered as one of the biggest beat downs in BCS history.

After what seemed like it would be close throughout, the Mountaineers scored 21 points in just over two minutes toward the end of the second quarter to put the game out of reach en route to a 70-33 annihilation of the Clemson Tigers.

No. 23 West Virginia (10-3) were unstoppable when they had the ball and Clemson (10-4) had no answer for the speed and elusiveness of the Mountaineers playmakers on offense.

West Virginia set a record for most points in a bowl game and quarterback Geno Smith passed for an Orange Bowl record six touchdowns. He finished the game 31-42 for 401 yards.

For the Mountaineers, receiver/kick returner Tavon Austin did the rest.

The little man who ranks in the top five in the country in yards from scrimmage and was a third-team all-American on special teams had 11 receptions for 117 yards and four touchdown,s with over 100 of his yards coming after the catch. He also carried the ball four times for 46 yards.

After a game that started out relatively close, a 99-yard fumble returned for a West Virginia touchdown by Darwin Cook was the difference as Clemson was heading in to reclaim the lead at 24-21.

After that the route was on for the Mountaineers.

Even though West Virginia is headed to the Big 12 at some point or another, the win was still significant for a Big East conference looking not only to retain their AQ status, but also for a little respect.

The Big East is now 7-7 in BCS bowl games with the ACC falling to 2-14.

Whether or not that will be the last game West Virginia plays as a member of the Big East remains to be seen, but either way they put on quite a show last night and exposed a relatively weak ACC.