West Virginia receiver Ivan McCartney and some of his teammates found a way home for the holidays.
McCartney and 18 of those Florida native teammates, to be exact.
The news that WVU would play in the Orange Bowl Wednesday night exacted quite a response from the 6-foot-3 sophomore from Miramar, Fla.
"I jumped for joy," McCartney said.
This season, he jumped for pass after pass thrown by Geno Smith, another Miramar product. After a 2010 freshman season with one carry for 2 yards and one catch for 4, McCartney showed serious exponential growth with 47 receptions for 572 yards and three touchdowns.
He's behind Tavon Austin (89, 1,063 and four) and fellow Miramar grad Stedman Bailey (67, 1,197 and 11) on the Mountaineer season reception list, but has almost twice as many catches as the team's No. 4 receiver, Devon Brown (24).
On Friday, McCartney and the rest of the Mountaineers' Florida contingent took to their home soil via the Barry University soccer fields for practice.
"This is a dream come true," McCartney said beforehand. "A lot of athletes don't get the chance to go home and play after leaving. I can't believe this. Can't even describe it."
McCartney arrived in South Florida on Christmas Eve and has been there ever since. His home, he said, is a "5-minute walk" to Sun Life Stadium, where the Orange Bowl will be played.
"I had about 70 calls," McCartney said upon learning of the BCS bowl. "It's been crazy. I'll have 20 to 30 friends and family at the game."