Orange Bowl History - The 2010's
2012 - WVU Wins Record-Setting Orange Bowl
The West Virginia Mountaineers rode a record-breaking offensive performance by quarterback Geno Smith, who grew up in the shadow of Sun Life Stadium, to defeat the Clemson Tigers 70-33 in the 2012 Discover Orange Bowl. The Mountaineers’ 70 points set an all-time bowl record while Smith’s six touchdown passes and Tavon Austin’s four touchdown receptions both set Orange Bowl records and tied all-time bowl records. Smith, a veteran of the Orange Bowl Youth Football Alliance, threw for 407 yards and broke Tom Brady’s Orange Bowl record for most passing yards in a game. In addition to his six passing touchdowns, Smith added a rushing touchdown.
Despite the offensive fireworks, the game turned on a defensive play when with Clemson only a yard away from a game-leading touchdown, Darwin Cook recovered a fumble and took it 99 yards for a touchdown to extend West Virginia’s second quarter lead to 28-17. West Virginia closed the second quarter on a 21-0 run over the final two-plus minutes, scoring three of its five second quarter touchdowns in the final minutes of the first half.
The ACC Champion Tigers were led by quarterback Tajh Boyd who threw for 250 yards and two touchdowns. In total, nine different bowl records were either broken or tied in the 78th edition of the Orange Bowl.
FINAL SCORE: West Virginia 70, Clemson 33
2014 - Clemson Wins in a Record-Breaking Nail-Biter
Two of the country’s most potent offenses, Clemson and Ohio State, faced off in the 80th Orange Bowl. The Clemson Tigers were able to squeak past the Ohio State Buckeyes with a late score and an interception in the final two minutes to seal the victory. Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins shined as he broke the Orange Bowl record in receptions (16) and receiving yards (227).
Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd passed for a game-high 378 yards and 5 touchdowns. He was also the game’s leading rusher (20 rushes for 127 and 1 touchdown) including a 48-yard touchdown run in the opening drive of the game. After trailing 20-9, OSU stormed back behind quarterback Braxton Miller. He finished the game with a combined 271 total yards and 3 touchdowns including a 57-yard pass to Jeff Heurman and a 3-yard touchdown run with 12 seconds left in the first half to give OSU the lead at 22-20. In the third quarter, running back Carlos Hyde extended OSU’s lead with a 1-yard touchdown. He finished the game with 25 rushes for 113 yards.
Clemson answered with a pair of touchdowns by Martavis Bryant and Watkins. Miller’s 14-yard touchdown pass to Hyde early in the fourth quarter gave OSU a one point lead after a failed two point conversion. Clemson answered back again with 5-yard pass to Stanton Seckinger to take a 40-35 lead with just over 6 minutes remaining. OSU’s C.J. Barnett intercepted Boyd at midfield and two plays later, Clemson’s Stephone Anthony picked off Miller and prevented a last minute comeback.
FINAL SCORE: Clemson 40, Ohio State 35
2015 - Tigers Claw to a CFP Semifinal Victory
The Capital One Orange Bowl hosted its first-ever College Football Playoff Semifinal, welcoming No. 1 Clemson (ACC champions) vs. No. 4 Oklahoma (Big 12 champions) for a New Year’s Eve showdown in South Florida. The matchup featured a battle between Heisman finalist quarterbacks – Clemson’s Deshaun Watson and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield – and saw the Tigers make their third Orange Bowl appearance in five years, while the Sooners entered with a record 20th appearance in a game hosted by the Orange Bowl.
After giving away momentum and trailing 17-16 at halftime, the Tigers roared back in the second half, shutting out the Sooners to claim a 37-17 victory and a ticket to the national championship game. Clemson’s offense, led by quarterback Deshaun Watson and running back Wayne Gallman, rolled up 533 yards on Oklahoma’s defense. Watson, the game’s Most Outstanding Offensive Player, had 145 yards in 24 carries rushing with a 5-yard touchdown and completed 16 of 30 passes for 187 yards with a 35-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow. Watson’s rushing yards and attempts were Orange Bowl records for a quarterback.
Gallman rushed for 150 yards in 26 carries with touchdowns of 1 and 4 yards. He had 111 yards on 19 carries in the second half. The Tigers finished with 530 yards on offense and outgained the Sooners 225 to 121 yards in the second half. The victory sent Clemson (14-0) to its first national championship appearance since the 1982 Orange Bowl. Oklahoma, who had a seven-game winning streak snapped, finished 12-2 before a crowd of 67,615 at Sun Life Stadium.
FINAL SCORE: Clemson 37, Oklahoma 17
2016 - Seminoles Win in Dramatic Fashion
Florida State jumped off to a 17-3 first quarter lead, highlighted by a 92-yard pass from Dondre Francois to Nyqwan Murray, the longest in Orange Bowl history. Michigan rallied after trailing 20-6 at the half and steamrolled back into the game behind quarterback Wilson Speight and running back Chris Evans, who eventually gave Michigan the lead, 30-27, with 1:57 on the clock after a 30-yard touchdown run.
FSU freshman wide receiver Keith Gavin returned the subsequent kickoff all the way to the Wolverines’ 34-yard line. The Seminoles were able to capitalize and scored with :36 seconds remaining as Francois and Murray connected again. The Wolverines blocked the ensuing PAT and returned it for a two-point conversion, giving the game its final 33-32 result.
Dalvin Cook was voted most outstanding player of the game, after rushing for 145 yards on 20 carries and receiving three passes for 62 yards. Francois threw for 222 yards and two touchdowns, both to Murray, including the game-winner. The win evened the Seminoles’ Orange Bowl record at 5-5 as both teams finished their seasons at 10-3.
FINAL SCORE: Florida State 33, Michigan 32