The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

December 6, 2010

WVU to play N.C. State in bowl

Champs Sports Bowl Dec. 28 in Orlando

MORGANTOWN — It may not be the game West Virginia wanted to play in coming into the 2010 football season. It may not even be the game they should be playing in, but Orlando, Fla., in December is a very nice consolation prize when you let the Big East championship slip through your fingers.

The No. 22-ranked Mountaineers (9-3) accepted an invitation to play in the Champs Sports Bowl, taking on high-scoring North Carolina State (8-4) of the Atlantic Coast Conference, at 6 p.m. on Dec. 28.

“This is a big bowl,” said WVU Coach Bill Stewart. “I think there’s a game on later that night but at 6 p.m., we’ll be America’s game. We will be the only one on at that time.”

It certainly is a big bowl, complete with a payout of $2.13 million, a long way from the $17 million at the Fiesta Bowl that would have come had the Mountaineers earned the BCS bid. The money, however, goes to the Big East and is divided among all members.

Available tickets in the WVU allotment are $65 each and can be purchased online at WVUGAME.com, or by calling the Mountaineer Ticket Office at 1-800-WVU GAME.

The Mountaineers came into the season believing they were ready to win the Big East and jump into national contention. They knew they had potentially one of the finest defenses they had ever had but never did they expect it to be second in the nation, allowing no team to score more than 21 points on them.

They will have a hard time keeping that streak intact against a Wolfpack team that features star quarterback Russell Wilson, who threw for 3,228 yards and 26 touchdowns. Stewart actually was involved in trying to recruit Wilson when he was a position coach here, but was beaten out by a recruiter from N.C. State named Steve Dunlap, who is now the Mountaineers’ safety coach.

While the defense exceeded all expectations, the offense took a long time to get on track with Heisman candidate Noel Devine suffering a foot and ankle injury that kept him to fewer than 1,000 rushing yards.

In truth, the problem was youth as three sophomores proved to be key players — quarterback Geno Smith, wide receiver Tavon Auston and fullback Ryan Clarke.

The Mountaineers ran into turnovers problems in all three losses — each by less than a touchdown — as they fell at LSU, at home against Syracuse and then on the road at Connecticut in the game that cost them a BCS bid.

It took a four-game winning streak to save the season, as the young players developed.

“Over the last month we have shown the people of West Virginia and the nation that West Virginia is still a team very much to be reckoned with,” Stewart said. “We showed great resolve. That’s the Mountaineer way.”

Getting this bid was not a gimme, for the Champs people had the right to invite Notre Dame instead of a Big East team.

“We have a long term view of our relationship with Notre Dame. We can take them once in four years and we felt a ranked WVU team with a 9-3 record deserved to be here vs. a 7-5 Notre Dame team,” said Champs Sports Bowl CEO Steve Hogan.

In addition to Connecticut and West Virginia, here is the rest of the Big East bowl lineup:

Pitt accepted an invitation to play in the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham, Ala., against the University of Kentucky. The game will be played at noon on Jan. 8, making it one of the latest bowls and also, with a $600,000 payout, it is one of the least lucrative bowls.

South Florida, despite its heartbreaking loss to Connecticut, will make its sixth straight bowl appearance in Charlotte when it takes on Clemson in the Meineke Car Care Bowl at noon on Dec. 31.

Syracuse returns to postseason play for the first time since 2004 when it plays in the initial New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium, facing Kansas State at 3:20 p.m. on Dec. 30.

And finally Louisville’s return to respectability under first-year coach Charlie Strong landed a bid in the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl in St. Petersburg, Fla., facing Southern Mississippi at 8 p.m. on Dec. 21 at Tropicana Field.

E-mail Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com.

1
Text Only
WVU Sports
  • LINDLEY COLUMN: Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    Cheating has been part of college athletics probably for as long as people have bothered to keep score.

    July 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: O’Toole joins long list of eccentric WVU kickers, punters

    The star of the Big 12’s annual football media day wasn’t a star at all.

    July 24, 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.

    July 24, 2014

  • WVU, N.C. State to meet in football

    Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.
    The Mountaineers are scheduled to play N.C. State in Raleigh on Sept. 15, 2018, and then play host to the Wolfpack on Sept. 14, 2019.

    July 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention

    When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.

    July 24, 2014

  • ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention

    When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.

    July 23, 2014

  • WVU, N.C. State to meet in football

    Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.

    July 23, 2014

  • WVU, Tennessee finalize 2018 meeting

    West Virginia University and Tennessee have finalized their season-opening, Sept. 1, 2018, meeting in Charlotte, N.C., at Bank of America Stadium.
    Both teams will receive $2.5 million for the game and have a chance to earn up to $3.2 million with ticket incentives.
    Each team will buy 12,500 tickets and set aside 2,000 of its allotment for students.
    The game, played on the home field of the Carolina Panthers of the NFL, is being put on by the Charlotte Sports Federation.

    July 23, 2014

  • Holgorsen’s program hits turning point

    You can almost sense, as you watch West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen sit before the gathered Big 12 media contingent answering questions in the Omni Hotel in Arlington, Texas, that he senses his program has reached a turning point.

    July 23, 2014

  • Fleming, Billy.jpg WVU’s Fleming signs contract with Yankees

     Second baseman Billy Fleming of the West Virginia University baseball team has signed a professional contract with the New York Yankees, foregoing his upcoming senior season.
    “Ever since I was a little kid, it’s been my dream to play professional baseball,” Fleming said. “It is still surreal that I get to chase my dream, but I am ready to get after it. I loved my three years at WVU and want to thank all the coaches that made it possible for me to achieve my dream.”

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
WVU Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos