West Virginia destroys Clemson 70-33 in Orange Bowl

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“We kind of got down when they scored so many points in such a short amount of time,” Watkins said.

Amid the flurry of points, it was a defender who came up with second-longest scoring play in Orange Bowl history.

Clemson was on the verge of taking the lead in the second quarter when Ellington ran up the middle and disappeared into a heap at the 1. A teammate signaled touchdown, but the ball came loose and Cook grabbed it, then took off with nothing but the end zone in front of him.

“I saw the ball come loose,” he said. “I grabbed it. I didn’t hear a whistle, so I ran.”

After Cook crossed the goal line, he gleefully leaped on mascot Obie, a smiling orange, and they both tumbled to the turf. Obie rose unhurt and resumed her duties.

Cook and Obie met on the field after the game and shared a hug.

“I didn’t know you were a girl,” he told the mascot. “I apologize.”

Smith, standing in the sideline, watched a video replay of Cook’s touchdown in disbelief.

“Crazy, man,” Smith said. “When I saw that, I knew things were breaking our way.”

The potential 14-point swing seemed to deflect the Tigers, who had moved the ball almost at will to that point.

“It was a pretty big moment,” Swinney said. “They hadn’t really stopped us. That was huge. Then it snowballed quickly.”

The Tigers were doomed when quarterback Tajh Boyd committed subsequent turnovers on consecutive Clemson plays.

After Smith ran 7 yards on a keeper for a 35-20 lead, Pat Miller intercepted Boyd’s pass. Smith flipped a 1-yard touchdown pass to Austin and, on the next play, a call was overturned, with the replay official determining Boyd had lost a fumble.

Alston then ran for a 1-yard touchdown with 4 seconds left in the half.

“Momentum swung not in our favor, and it was hard to recapture,” Boyd said. “West Virginia is a great offense. You can’t really get behind them. We couldn’t stop them. Guys were gassed. Their legs were going. It was a tough loss — pretty embarrassing.”

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