WVU Proves It All Over Again

Najee Goode couldn't wait for the final seconds to tick off the clock to celebrate.

With a minute left in the game, he took a marker and wrote something special to the thousands of gold-clad West Virginia fans in the stands behind him.

"Undefeated in the BCS," Goode wrote and then stood on the a bench and held it up to the fans in the Mountaineers' 70-33 victory in the 2012 Orange Bowl.

When the clock struck zeros, the entire team sprinted to the end zone the Mountaineers had owned for the previous 60 minutes and celebrated like any team that just proved an entire nation wrong would.

The entire United States – outside of the state of West Virginia – said WVU would lose this game.

Well, it didn't. And, it wasn't even close.

"It was motivation for us back in 2008 in the Fiesta Bowl, and it was again for us again," said senior defensive tackle Julian Miller. "It's so much motivation knowing that the nation was against us … Well, we proved them all wrong."

The nation, once again, counted WVU out of this game. In the 2006 Sugar Bowl, the nation said the Mountaineers had no chance vs. Georgia. The same was said against Oklahoma in the 2008 Fiesta Bowl.

A day after ESPN play-by-play man Brad Nessler said West Virginia was from the state of Virginia, the Mountaineers once again took the nation's attention and impressed.

WVU is one of just two programs to win three BCS bowls since 2005. The Mountaineers will join Miami and Oklahoma as only schools to win three different BCS bowls. It's also the first program to win three BCS games with three different coaches. Throughout such turmoil and transition, WVU is still one of the nation's best.

"As people see the program that we're building and the type of team we are, they see us heading to the Big 12. It's all very special," said WVU Athletic Director Oliver Luck.

Clemson made it close for a quarter. But, in the second quarter, the Mountaineers outscored the Tigers 35-3. When safety Darwin Cook stripped Clemson running back Andre Ellington of the ball with more than 10 minutes to play in the second quarter and returned it 99 yards to the end zone, it seemed WVU stepped on that Clemson paw and throughout the rest of the game dug its new Nike cleats deeper and deeper.

By halftime, the Tigers had no life. Their side of the stadium, once the loudest at pregame, was sitting on its hands. WVU's side was raucous as ever in a moment so similar to the last two BCS bowl wins.

By the start of the fourth quarter, those Clemson fans were nearly gone. The Mountaineers may have finished with more points on the board than the Tigers had fans in the stands of Sun Life Stadium on this night.

"We're going to enjoy this one. We did everything that we were supposed to do for the last two months now, and I'm really proud of the way that these guys responded when our backs were against the wall," said WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen.

Throughout the game, players like Geno Smith and Tavon Austin trending nationally and worldwide on Twitter. WVU trended for nearly three hours in the United States.

Holgorsen, after winning a share of the Big East Conference title and getting the tiebreaker to earn a BCS game in his first year, made Luck look like a genius for making a move.

A year after the Mountaineers' program looked to lose all national relevance, it gained it all back in a year.

WVU scored the most points in any bowl game ever. Smith and Austin and the entire bunch on offense looked absolutely unstoppable.

And, that defense under coordinator Jeff Casteel, was pretty darn good, too.

One thing's for sure after this game, don't ever count West Virginia out.

Maybe now, people will start to realize WVU is one of the nation's elite football programs – and West Virginia's a state … and one to be reckoned with for years to come.


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