Monday, January 2, 2012

It's Gameweek! Orange Bowl Primer

Matchup:  WVU v Clemson

When:  Wed, 8:30p, ESPN

Line:  -3 Clemson

West Virginia Players to Watch:
Geno Smith, QB:  3,978 yards, 25 TD, 7 INT
Shawne Alston, RB:  354 yards, 10 TD
Tavon Austin, WR:  2,294 all-purpose yards, 7 total touchdowns 
Stedman Bailey, WR:  67 rec, 1,197 yards, 11 TD

Clemson Players to Watch:
Tajh Boyd, QB:  3,578 yards, 31 TD, 10 INT
Andre Ellington, RB:  1,062 yards, 10 TD
Sammy Watkins, WR:  77 rec, 1,153 yards, 11 TD
Andre Branch, DE:  78 total tackles, 16 TFL, 10.5 sacks


Welcome to the BCS, Dana.  You'll love it here...and the fans will love you even more if this becomes a constant.  Of course, it will be much more difficult when WVU moves to the Big 12, but for now the Mountaineers will be a force every year in the weak Big East.  Holgorsen did well to silence critics in year one, but by his own admission he'd tell you the team needs to get better.  There were certainly some inconsistencies in all facets of the game, but a strong finish propelled WVU into the Orange Bowl.  Now, how do Holgy's boys close out the season.

Shawne Alston, it's your time to shine.  Especially with the injury to Dustin Garrison.  Alston won't be the fastest guy out there, but the junior has been a very solid piece to Holgorsen's offense.  Alston does have 10 touchdowns this year, and is very effective on short-yardage.  Now they will look for Alston to hopefully break a few tackles and help WVU control the clock...and the scoreboard.

West Virginia's defense will be in a battle to try to slow down the tiger attack.  Clemson is more balanced than possibly any team WVU has faced this season, with elite plamakers at all the skilled positions.  Sammy Watkins might be the best receiver in college football, and he's a freshman.  Andre Ellington rushed for over a 1,000 yards this season.  Meanwhile, former WVU commit, Tajh Boyd has had a breakout year throwing for 31 touchdowns.  The Mountaineers may have to sacrifice some aggression if things are slipping early.  If this is Jeff Casteel's final game has DC, let's hope it's his finest hour.  

What if we're all wrong?  What if neither offense shows up, and the game ends 10-6?  Or both defenses just dominate, and neither team scores 20.  That would be epic.  Hell, even Dabo Swinney thinks it's going to be a shootout.  So, whats the possibility of the unexpected?  Slim to none.  Don't be crazy, take the over.  

Orange Bowl Updates

Every few days we will try to provide you with stories and tidbits surrounding the Orange Bowl that will tide you over till gameday in early January.

Wait, Brodrick Jenkins and Sammy Watkins were high school teammates?  I haven't heard this yet.

J.D. Woods excited to play in Bowl and potentially start.

Alston to get the start with Garrison being injured.

Dana Holgorsen on the right amount of preparation.  

Hey, a WVU article from Big 12 country...sweet

Interesting take on WVU from the view of officials.  

Follow the press conference live this morning on the Orange Bowl Facebook page.