The Times West Virginian

Mickey Furfari

January 8, 2012

FURFARI COLUMN: Seeing bordered on disbelief at bowl

MORGANTOWN — I thought the West Virginia University-Clemson match-up in the Discover Orange Bowl might be a high-scoring shootout.

But I most certainly could never have dreamed that it would be a blowout!

The underdog Mountaineers’ explosive 70-33 devastating defeat of the shocked Tigers last Wednesday night before a crowd of nearly 68,000 fans in Miami still borders on disbelief.

Sitting there in the press box, even with three TV monitors before my eyes, seeing was not believing this cold night. Honest.

It goes down in my book as one of the top five greatest victories in WVU’s storied football history.

This was a near-perfect performance in all three phases — offense, defense and special teams.

The Mountaineers set numerous records in the process and wound up with a 10-3 record for the 2011 season. They also should be several notches higher when the final national ranking comes out.

West Virginia should be a shoo-in for the Lambert Trophy, too. That award, sponsored by ECAC and the Meadowlands, is symbolic of NCAA Division I football supremacy in the East.

Dana Holgorsen and members of his coaching staff deserve tall tributes along with their players for a job well-done.

A variety of key things fell in place for the team as it won the final three games of the regular season and even the scoreboard-watching worked out right.

The bottom line: West Virginia emerged from a three-way tie for the Big East Championship as the conference’s BCS bowl representative.

Icing for the cake would follow in the crushing conquest of Clemson (10-4). It turned the Atlantic Coast Conference champion into a chump.

Take that, ACC, for your constant snubbing of WVU dating back to your birth in 1953!

WVU rolled up 589 yards to Clemson’s 443, and first downs were 31 to 24. The Mountaineers scored on 10 of 16 possessions.

Turnovers were major factors, too. WVU defenders came up with four — two interceptions and two fumbles — and Clemson just one interception, thrown by No. 2 quarterback Paul Millard.

Quarterback Geno Smith, playing in front of relatives and friends, really deserved being named the Most Valuable Player.

The Miami native’s 401 passing yards are a BCS bowl record. What’s more, his six touchdowns are a BCS record and notch the mark for all-time bowl play.

Tavon Austin tied a BCS bowl record with four receiving touchdowns. And Darwin Cook’s 99-yard fumble return for a touchdown is an Orange Bowl defensive record.

WVU’s 49 first-half points and 70 total points both are all-time bowl records.

Again, the whole performance bordered on disbelief. It was a show of rare greatness.

Text Only
Mickey Furfari
  • FURFARI COLUMN: Wyant talks about ‘Pappy’ Lewis and other items of interest

    I saved some other interesting observations from the recent interview with Fred Wyant which you may find worth reading.
    He believes a college football coach ought to recruit a quarterback he wants, give him some help, then turn virtually everything over to him and let him go.

    July 26, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Five major sports topics of interest to area fans

    Tom Hart, a widely known retired Morgantown High School administrator and coach, continues to excel as one of the nation’s top bowlers.
    However, he told me he faces knee-replacement surgery. So he’s going to find it necessary to give up bowling during a period of rehab. Hart has competed in an amazing total of 45 U.S. Bowling Congress tournaments during his outstanding career.

    July 25, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Ex-Mountaineer track star dies; WVU athlete arrests may be concern

    I’ve learned belatedly that James Gordon “Jim” Dial, an outstanding men’s track and field sprinter at West Virginia University during the late 1940s, has died.
    He was a native of Huntington who earned All-State first team status. The Huntington High star led all scorers in the state Track Championship meets in both 1946 and ’47.

    July 18, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Jedd Gyorko running and taking batting practice now

    A report on the internet at this week’s start indicated that Morgantown’s Jedd Gyorko might be ready finally to rejoin the San Diego Padre’s starting lineup.
    He has been on the Major League’s disabled list since June 3. Problems with his feet was given as the reason Gyorko was unable to keep playing.

    July 16, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: WVU hopes to boost season-ticket sales

    West Virginia University’s season-ticket sales for football are the lowest in nine years just two months before this season’s first home game.
    That will be on Saturday, Sept. 6, against Towson State. The Big 12 portion of the schedule follows.

    July 10, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: San Diego Padres’ Gyorko remains on disabled list

    Stringing together some odds and ends that may interest you:
    • Jedd Gyorko still is not active with the San Diego Padres. The former West Virginia University standout has been on the baseball’s disabled list for just over a month and hopes to return soon.

    July 9, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: It had to feel like ‘Ol’ Home Week’ for the Tricketts

    It might have felt like a bit of “Ol’ Home Week’ to West Virginia University starting quarterback Clint Trickett.
    His parents, Rick and Tara Trickett, were in the Morgantown area and stopped by to spend some time with Clint. They still live in Tallahassee, Florida.

    July 3, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: WVU football season-ticket sales approximately 26,000

    Stringing together some odds and ends about sports that may be of interest to you:
    • West Virginia University season-ticket sales for the 2014 football campaign have reached approximately 26,000. That’s some 2,000 since the count of 24,000 when the renewal deadline was reached.

    June 27, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: USA Today has WVU 78th in football countdown from No. 128 to No. 1

    Like Las Vegas oddsmakers, USA Today’s sports writer Paul Myerberg doesn’t rank West Virginia highly in that newspaper’s early college football predictions in a copyrighted piece.
    In one of its thorough pieces, USA Today analyzed West Virginia in its No. 78 ranking among 128 college teams. That’s what is called a countdown from No. 128 to No. 1.

    June 24, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Las Vegas oddsmakers not kind to WVU in early listings

    Not long ago, I guessed that the West Virginia University football team will go 6-6 during the 2014 football season.
    That was based strictly on a hunch. It would show at least some improvement over last year’s pitiful 4-8 finish.

    June 22, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads