SPORTS
01/03/2012 03:07 pm ET Updated Mar 04, 2012

Orange Bowl 2012: Clemson, West Virginia Feature Dynamic QBs Tajh Boyd, Geno Smith

By The Associated Press

MIAMI (AP) — Clemson (10-3) vs. West Virginia (9-3), 8 p.m. EST (ESPN)

Line: Clemson by 3.

Series record: Clemson leads 1-0, beating West Virginia 27-7 in the 1989 Gator Bowl.

WHAT'S AT STAKE

The Tigers are making their first appearance in a major bowl since January 1982, when they beat Nebraska in the Orange Bowl for their lone national title. The Mountaineers will try to improve to 3-0 in three Bowl Championship Series games.

KEY MATCHUP

Clemson's passing attack against the Mountaineers, who ranked 15th in the nation in pass efficiency defense. Tajh Boyd threw for 3,541 yards and 30 scores and ranked 18th in total offense. His targets include first-team All-Americans Sammy Watkins and Dwayne Allen. The Mountaineers' defense is led by Bruce Irvin (7½ sacks), Justin Miller (six sacks) and Keith Tandy (12 career interceptions).

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Clemson: True freshman Watkins set a school record with 1,153 yards receiving. He ranked fourth in the nation in average all-purpose yards (173.1). Allen caught eight touchdown passes and won the John Mackey Award as the nation's top tight end. Andre Ellington rushed for 1,062 yards and 10 scores. Boyd set school records for yards passing, passing touchdowns and total offense.

West Virginia: Third-team All-American Tavon Austin set a school record with 89 receptions, ranked No. 2 nationally in all-purpose yards (191.2) and was fifth in punt returns (14.1 per return). Geno Smith has thrown for 3,978 yards and 25 touchdowns, and he ranked ninth in the nation in total offense. Stedman Bailey set a school record with 1,197 yards receiving.

FACTS & FIGURES

The Tigers climbed to sixth in the rankings by winning their first eight games. The Mountaineers were ranked as high as 11th. ... Clemson scored at least 35 points eight times. ... The Tigers won their first Atlantic Coast Conference title in 20 years, and they won 10 games for the first time in a decade. ... Three times Clemson overcame a deficit of at least 14 points to win. ... The Tigers ranked only 80th in run defense. ... Clemson QB Boyd planned to enroll at West Virginia before changing his mind. ... West Virginia rushing leader Dustin Garrison will miss the game with a left knee injury. ...The Mountaineers are making their 10th consecutive bowl appearance. ... The Mountaineers have 18 Floridians on their roster.

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