White rallies Mountaineers
During four record-breaking seasons at West Virginia, Pat White made comeback victories and bowl wins routine.
His grand finale, though, was unique. The most prolific running quarterback in college football history had the best passing game of his career, cementing his status as one of the best players in school history and perhaps showing he can take his game to the NFL, too.
White threw for 332 yards in his final college game, including the game-winning 20-yard touchdown pass to Alric Arnett midway through the fourth quarter in West Virginia's 31-30 victory over North Carolina yesterday in the Meineke Bowl in Charlotte, N.C.
The senior was voted MVP of a bowl for the third straight year and finished 4-0 in postseason games, helping West Virginia (9-4) end a disappointing season on a positive note.
It took a great performance to beat out Hakeem Nicks, who caught eight passes for 217 yards and three touchdowns for the Tar Heels (8-5). But T.J. Yates's otherwise strong game was marred when he was intercepted by Pat Lazear with less than two minutes left.
The Tar Heels routinely put eight men on the line of scrimmage to stop the NCAA's all-time leading rushing quarterback. White was held to 55 yards rushing, finishing with 4,480 in his career.
Facing questions about whether he can be an NFL quarterback, White made a strong case. He completed 26 of 32 passes with three touchdowns, one interception, and a clutch fourth-quarter drive.
After West Virginia's J.T. Thomas recovered Shaun Draughn's fumble at the Mountaineers' 30, White threw a 41-yard pass over the middle to Jock Sanders, ran for 9 yards, and then rifled a pass between two defenders to Arnett for the go-ahead TD with 7:14 left.
"Knowing that this is the last time I'm going to put on this uniform, I definitely wanted to go out on top," White said. "We accomplished that."
California 24, Miami 17 - Zack Follett forced a fumble by freshman quarterback Jacory Harris deep in Miami territory with 3:28 left, and Anthony Miller scored the go-ahead TD on his first career catch moments later as the Golden Bears pulled out a victory in the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco.
Jahvid Best rushed for a bowl-record 186 yards and two TDs for Cal (9-4), which had a decided home-crowd advantage over the Hurricanes (7-6).
Florida St. 42, Wisconsin 13 - Derek Nicholson and Dekoda Watson returned fumbles for scores, Christian Ponder threw two TD passes, and the Seminoles - playing in their NCAA-leading 27th straight bowl game - pounded the Badgers in the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando, Fla.
Florida State (9-4) finished with more than eight wins for the first time since 2004. It was an ugly finish to a poor season for Wisconsin (7-6), which was ranked as high as No. 8.