On Jan. 4, the No. 23 West Virginia Mountaineers take on the No. 14 Clemson Tigers in the Orange Bowl, marking WVU's third BCS bowl appearance in the last five seasons. Coach Dana Holgerson, in his first year leading the Mountaineers, notes the Orange Bowl pits two excellent offensive teams against one another. "I think we match up pretty good," Holgerson said, according to Jim Butta of the Parkersburg News and Sentinel. "Obviously, the two offenses are among the best in the country and the defenses have been playing very well of late."
West Virginia ranks among the country's best offenses--averaging 34.9 points per contest, No. 19 overall--on the strength of its passing game: the Mountaineers gain 341.8 yards per game through the air, good for No. 8 among FBS schools. Quarterback Geno Smith has had an excellent junior campaign, ranking No. 1 or No. 2 in the Big East in completions (314), attempts (483), completion percentage (65 percent), yards (3978), touchdowns (25), and passer rating (148.4). And despite his high-volme passing, Smith threw just seven interceptions in 2011.
The Tigers' offense boasts more balance, with a sound running game (155.8 yards per game, No. 61 overall) to complement its No. 21-ranked passing offense. Quarterback Tajh Boyd led all Atlantic Coast Conference players with 31 touchdown passes, helping Clemson average 33.6 points per game. Though not as prolific or accurate as Smith, Boyd nonetheless enjoyed a solid sophomore campaign. Andre Ellington led the Tighers with 10 rushing touchdowns and five yards per carry, while Boyd added five scores of his own on the ground.
We'll have coverage of the Orange Bowl up to and through the big game in this StoryStream. For more on the two teams, check out Tigers blog Shakin' The Southland and Mountaineers blog The Smoking Musket.