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MIAMI (AP) — As the West Virginia Mountaineers celebrated their first Orange Bowl victory, safety Darwin Cook shared a hug with the game’s mascot, Obie.
They had run into each other earlier in the end zone when Cook scored the night’s pivotal touchdown, then leaped on the smiling orange. Only after the game did he learn a woman was wearing the Obie outfit.
“I didn’t know you were a girl,” he told her. “I apologize.”
The Mountaineers ran over everything in their path Wednesday night, including the Clemson Tigers. Geno Smith tied the record for any bowl game with six touchdown passes, and the No. 23-ranked Mountaineers set a bowl scoring record with their high-powered offense by routing No. 14 Clemson 70-33.
But it was a defensive player — Cook — who made the most memorable play by returning a fumble 99 yards for a touchdown to break the game open.
Cook collided comically with mascot Obie after scoring one of the Mountaineers’ five TDs in the second quarter, including three in the final 2:29 for a 49-20 lead. It was the highest-scoring half by a team in a bowl game.
“I always envisioned making great plays,” Cook said. “If you think it will happen, it will happen.”
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