2012 Orange Bowl: Clemson Vs. West Virginia – Preview, Prediction,and Pick Against the Spread

The Mountaineers of West Virginia head to Miami to take on the Clemson Tigers in the 2012 Orange Bowl. West Virginia went 5-2 in the Big East and 9-3 overall. One of the Mountaineers losses came to a Syracuse team that went 1-6 in the Big East. Clemson started the season 8-0 but finished 10-3 overall. The Tigers are coming off a decisive 38-10 victory over Virginia Tech in the ACC title game.

When Clemson is on Offense

The Tigers ranked 24th in the nation in scoring this season with an average of 33.6 points per game. They were held under 20 points only three times this season, all losses. Sophomore quarterback Tajh Boyd was outstanding this season. Boyd threw for 3578 yards with 31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Boyd’s favorite target was Sammy Watkins, a freshman wide receiver. Watkins had 77 catches for 1153 yards and 11 touchdowns and also ran for 229 yards. Running back Andre Ellington averaged 5.0 yards per carry on his way to 1062 yards and 10 touchdowns.

The Mountaineers’ defense allowed an average of 26.3 points per game this season. West Virginia could be successful getting to Tajh Boyd in this game. West Virginia had 28 sacks this season and Boyd took 28 sacks this year. It will be very important for West Virginia to keep close reigns on Sammy Watkins or he will make them pay with big plays.

When West Virginia is on Offense

West Virginia was 20th in the nation in scoring at 34.9 points per game. Quarterback Geno Smith had an outstanding junior season for the Mountaineers. Smith completed 65% of his passes for 3978 yards and 25 touchdowns this season. Smith has two great receivers in Stedman Bailey (1197 yards) and Tavon Austin (1063 yards). Freshman running back Dustin Garrison made the most of his carries this season averaging 5.5 yards per carry for a total of 742 yards rushing. Garrison ran for 291 yards in a game against Bowling Green on October 1st.

Clemson’s defense ranked 62nd in the nation allowing an average of 26.2 points per game. Senior defensive end Andre Branch was 7th in the country with 10.5 sacks. As a team Clemson had 24 sacks and 13 interceptions.

2012 Orange Bowl Pick Against the Spread

Oddsmakers currently have Clemson as 3.5 point favorites over West Virginia. Both teams like to throw the football and we should see an exiting back and forth football game. I like the Clemson Tigers to win and cover behind a stellar game by Tajh Boyd. Clemson will find ways to put the ball in Sammy Watkins hands and he is the best athlete on the field. I am taking the Tigers and giving the 3.5 points.

2012 Orange Bowl Prediction

Clemson – 34
West Virginia – 28



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