MIAMI — West Virginia’s Darwin Cook snuffed out a potential Clemson touchdown, created a turnover and ran into the Orange Bowl record books.
All on the same play, no less.
In a record-setting night for West Virginia’s offense, a Mountaineers defender stole the show in a 70-33 victory over Clemson.
The 70 points are a record for any bowl.
On the play, Cook stripped the ball from Clemson’s Andre Ellington near the goal line, turned and ran 99 yards for the touchdown.
Cook’s play turned the game’s momentum around for good. Instead of Clemson going up 24-21 if Ellington had scored, West Virginia took a 28-17 lead.
It helped West Virginia take a 49-20 lead into halftime.
“We’re not playing well anywhere,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said as he left the field for the first half.
Cook’s touchdown came with Clemson having a first-and-goal from the West Virginia 3.
Ellington followed a mass of blockers toward the goal line, getting so close to breaking the plane that at least two Tigers raised their arms in celebration in the touchdown signal.
Cook grabbed the ball away from Ellington and took off on what became the longest defensive score in Orange Bowl history, a yard longer than Greg Mather’s 98-yard fumble return for Navy in 1961.
West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith threw six touchdown passes – four of them to Tavon Austin. Both marks tied a record for any bowl.
Smith also ran for another score for the Mountaineers, who won their third Bowl Championship Series game in seven seasons.
Smith hit 31 of 42 passes for 401 yards.
Shawne Alston ran for two touchdowns, both in the first half. He led West Virginia with 78 yards on 19 carries.
Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd was 24 for 42 for 250 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions.