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2012 Orange Bowl: In Midst Of Offensive Explosion, Defensive Play Was Key

Coming into the 2012 Orange Bowl, we knew that the game would be paced by the two teams offenses. West Virginia certainly did not disappoint, putting up 70 points in one of the biggest routes in Bowl history. But according to our West Virginia blog The Smoking Musket, it wasn't any of the nine offensive touchdowns they scored that set the pace, but rather the 99-yard fumble return that put momentum fairly on their shoulders.

WVU gave up a long touchdown run early and it was looking like it was going to be a back and forth game. Then THE PLAY happened. In a game that featured 103 points scored, it was a defensive play that set momentum squarely on the side of the Mountaineers for the remainder of the game.

Clemson had a first goal at about the West Virginia three-yard line, and a touchdown would have given them the lead. But West Virginia forced a fumble and returned it all the way for a touchdown, a potential 14 point swing. After that play the Mountaineers went on a 35-3 run before Clemson was able to get into the end zone again.In a game that will be remembered for the offense, the defense of the Mountaineers set the tone.

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.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.