West Virginia leads Clemson, 49-20, at Orange Bowl halftime

West Virginia Mountaineers receiver Devon Brown moves the ball down field as Clemson Tigers' Jonathan Meeks misses the tackle in the first quarter of the Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, on Wednesday, January 4, 2012.


MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – An Orange Bowl battle featuring two of the nation’s most productive offenses more than lived up to its billing in the first half

Wednesday night, but No. 23 West Virginia went off the charts.

Leading 49-20 at halftime, the Mountaineers established a new Orange Bowl record for points in a half.

But the most spectacular play came on defense: Mountaineers safety Darwin Cook scored on a 99-yard return for a touchdown after a fumble by Andre Ellington.

The No. 14 and favored Tigers, playing in their first Orange Bowl since the 1981 team defeated Nebraska to win the national championship, scored touchdowns on Ellington’s 68-yard run and Tajh Boyd’s 27-yard pass to Sammy Watkins.

Clemson (10-3) got to the Orange Bowl by winning its first ACC Championship since 1991.

West Virginia (9-3) is the Big East Conference champion.

Coming into the Orange Bowl, the ACC is 2-5 in bowl games this season.

Reach Gene Sapakoff at 937-5593 or Twitter/@sapakoff