Players to watch: West Virginia

From Geno Smith to Tavon Austin, the Mountaineers have plenty of weapons to be concerned about in the upcoming Orange Bowl.

* QB Geno Smith, the most prolific passer in Mountaineers history, broke nearly all of Marc Bulger's school single-season passing records, and he should own all of the career records when he finishes his career next year. Smith is equally adept throwing short and long, and he makes great use of his two greatest weapons, receivers Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin. Smith finished the year with 25 touchdown passes and just seven interceptions.

* WR Stedman Bailey, an acrobatic receiver with large, strong hands, saved the season with a diving catch to set up the game-winning field goal against South Florida, giving him 67 receptions for a school record 1,197 yards. A high school teammate of QB Geno Smith in Miramar, Fla., he caught 11 touchdowns. He's the team's greatest deep threat.

* SR Tavon Austin, nimble and fleet, is the breakaway threat that any coach would like to make use of. Used in the slot, he draws double coverage because a safety just can't cover him. He turns screens and short passes into long gains, and he set the school record with 84 catches this season. Austin also is one of the nation's premier kickoff returners, averaging 26.5 per return with two taken 90 or more yards for touchdowns. He also is dangerous as a punt returner, but he sometimes had problems fielding them.

* DT Julian Miller battled a high ankle sprain all season, but when healthy, he showed what he could do, tying the school record with four sacks in the Pitt game. Undersized for a defensive tackle, he is strong, quick pass rusher and the vocal leader of the defensive unit.

BOWL HISTORY: West Virginia is 13-17 in bowl games and has lost its last two, including a 23-7 loss to North Carolina State in last year's Champs Sports Bowl. This will be the Mountaineers' 10th consecutive bowl appearance. They have won their only two BCS appearances, beating Georgia 38-35 in the 2005 Sugar Bowl played in Atlanta, and beating Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. West Virginia suffered through an eight-game bowl losing streak from 1982 to through 1998, ending it in Hall of Fame coach Don Nehlen's final game in the 2000 Music City Bowl.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Offense is what people want to see, but the only way to win a game is to stop people. The team that gets the most stops and creates the most turnovers will win the game." -- Coach Dana Holgorsen, on the idea that the Orange Bowl will be an offensive shootout between his team and Clemson. Top Stories