for this game

White rallies West Virginia past Georgia Tech in Gator Bowl

Jan 2, 2007 - 1:06 AM JACKSONVILLE, Florida (Ticker) -- Patrick White reminded everyone he can throw the ball a little, too.

White accounted for three touchdowns - including two through the air - in less than seven minutes of the third quarter, singlehandedly reversing the momentum and lifting No. 13 West Virginia to a wild 38-35 victory over Georgia Tech in the Gator Bowl.

In the highest-scoring game in the 62-year history of the Gator Bowl, White outgunned unheralded counterpart Taylor Bennett as he rallied the Mountaineers (11-2) from an 18-point second-half deficit in wet and rainy conditions.

"We were down early but we played Mountaineer football for four quarters and didn't give up," White said.

"When you've got Pat White in the backfield, a lot can happen," Georgia Tech linebacker KaMichael Hall admitted.

Just a sophomore, White has emerged as one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the country. He came into this game with 1,074 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns, averaging 7.5 yards per carry.

Those numbers have labeled White as a running quarterback. However, he threw for 1,524 yards and 11 touchdowns and was the only Division I-A signal-caller to both run and pass for 1,000 yards this season.

White used his arm to rally the Mountaineers, who faced a 35-17 deficit early in the third quarter. He found Tito Gonzales with a 57-yard TD pass to trigger the comeback and connected midway through the period with Brandon Myles on a nicely thrown 14-yard toss to the left side of the end zone that made it 35-31.

The ensuing kickoff was short and bounced off a pair of Georgia Tech players, hitting Tony Clark in the thigh and Sedric Griffin in the ankle before West Virginia's John Holmes recovered at the 35.

"They did an excellent job of taking advantage of their opportunities," Georgia Tech coach Chan Gailey said. "There were a lot of crazy bounces of the ball out there today, and they took advantage of their opportunities."

An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against the Yellow Jackets (9-5) and a five-yard run by Ed Collington set up White's 15-yard scoring scamper that gave the Mountaineers the lead for good with 5:57 left in the third quarter.

In the final period, Georgia Tech had a pair of solid chances to tie or go ahead but squandered them both. Bennett, who started for the academically ineligible Reggie Ball, threw his only interception with 8:14 left as he was picked off by Quinton Andrews at the 2.

"He learned something today," Gailey said. "He learned that when you're in the fourth quarter and within three points, you don't take the chance down there. We talked about it when he came off the sideline."

West Virginia went three-and-out and punted, with Georgia Tech taking over at the Mountaineers 36. But a screen pass to Tashard Choice that would have been a first down was wiped out by an illegal block, and Travis Bell's 54-yard field goal was short.

White sealed matters by rushing for three first downs to kill the clock. He ran for 145 yards on 22 carries and completed 9-of-15 passes for 132 yards.

"You've got to learn how to finish," Hall said. "It's all about finishing. If you can't finish a game, you're not going to win it."

The Mountaineers also got a lift from Owen Schmitt, who came on for injured star running back Steve Slaton and ran for 109 yards and two TDs on 13 carries. Second in the nation in rushing, West Virginia ran for 311 yards.

Bennett, who had thrown just 29 passes all season, was remarkable. He was 19-of-29 for 326 yards and three TDs, sparking an offense that had managed just 18 points in its last two games.

"It was nice," Bennett said. "We started out with a number of completions. It was nice to hit a couple of short routes and get in the groove of things."

"I expected that when he got his opportunity, he would go out there and play well," Gailey said. "He did not exceed my expectations."

Choice ran for a career-high 169 yards and a score on 27 carries and caught four passes for 28 yards. Star wideout Calvin Johnson - who may have been playing his last college game - caught nine passes for a career-high 186 yards and two TDs for Georgia Tech.

"(The NFL is) far from my mind," Johnson said. "I'm not thinking about anything else right now. I'll have to make a decision. The deadline is coming up pretty soon, so it won't be long off."

"(Johnson's) play today was typical," Gailey said. "That's what we've come to expect from Calvin Johnson."

With Choice and Johnson en route to career days and Bennett enjoying a coming-out party, Georgia Tech built a 28-10 lead late in the second quarter.

Schmitt's second TD run cut the halftime deficit to 28-17, but the Yellow Jackets seemed to regain momentum by recovering an onside kick to open the second half and turning it into a five-yard TD run by Choice.

"We had put that in and practiced it," Gailey said. "Coach (Charles) Kelly, our special teams coach, did a good job on recognizing that we had that opportunity."

Schmitt's first TD opened the scoring, but Johnson caught TD passes of 41 and 48 yards around a three-yard scoring run by Choice to give Georgia Tech a 21-17 lead just over a minute into the second quarter.

"(Bennett) had a hell of a game," Johnson said. "He's going to be a great quarterback."

West Virginia's Pat McAfee kicked a 25-yard field goal but Bennett struck again, finding James Johnson with a 27-yard TD toss.








  • GATOR BOWL
    AT JACKSONVILLE FL
    NCAAF FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    WEST VIRGINIA (13) 7 10 21 0 38
    GEORGIA TECH 14 14 7 0 35 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: WEST VIRGINIA - TD, OWEN SCHMITT 1 YD RUN (PAT
    MCAFEE KICK), 4:44. WEST
    VIRGINIA 7-0
    GEORGIA TECH - TD, CALVIN JOHNSON 41 YD PASS FROM
    TAYLOR BENNETT (TRAVIS BEL

    Jan 1 4:44 PM
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    AT JACKSONVILLE FL
    NCAAF END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    WEST VIRGINIA (13) 7 10 21 38
    GEORGIA TECH 14 14 7 35 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: WEST VIRGINIA - TD, OWEN SCHMITT 1 YD RUN (PAT
    MCAFEE KICK), 4:44. WEST
    VIRGINIA 7-0
    GEORGIA TECH - TD, CALVIN JOHNSON 41 YD PASS FROM
    TAYLOR BENNETT (T

    Jan 1 4:01 PM


  • GATOR BOWL
    AT JACKSONVILLE FL
    NCAAF GATOR BOWL
    TD WEST VIRGINIA
    PAT WHITE 15 YD RUN
    (PAT MCAFEE KICK)
    WEST VIRGINIA (13) 38
    GEORGIA TECH 35 5:57 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    West Virginia vs. Georgia TechJan 1 3:46 PM
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    WEST VIRGINIA (13) 31
    GEORGIA TECH 35 6:57 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    West Virginia vs. Georgia TechJan 1 3:37 PM


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    GEORGIA TECH 35 12:31 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    West Virginia vs. Georgia TechJan 1 3:22 PM


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    AT JACKSONVILLE FL
    NCAAF GATOR BOWL
    TD GEORGIA TECH
    TASHARD CHOICE 5 YD RUN
    (TRAVIS BELL KICK)
    WEST VIRGINIA (13) 17
    GEORGIA TECH 35 13:48 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    West Virginia vs. Georgia TechJan 1 3:17 PM


  • GATOR BOWL
    AT JACKSONVILLE FL
    NCAAF HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    WEST VIRGINIA (13) 7 10 17
    GEORGIA TECH 14 14 28 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: WEST VIRGINIA - TD, OWEN SCHMITT 1 YD RUN (PAT
    MCAFEE KICK), 4:44. WEST
    VIRGINIA 7-0
    GEORGIA TECH - TD, CALVIN JOHNSON 41 YD PASS FROM
    TAYLOR BENNETT (TRAVI

    Jan 1 2:46 PM
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    OWEN SCHMITT 11 YD RUN
    (PAT MCAFEE KICK)
    WEST VIRGINIA (13) 17
    GEORGIA TECH 28 1:06 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    West Virginia vs. Georgia TechJan 1 2:36 PM


  • GATOR BOWL
    AT JACKSONVILLE FL
    NCAAF GATOR BOWL
    TD GEORGIA TECH
    JAMES JOHNSON 27 YD PASS FROM TAYLOR BENNETT
    (TRAVIS BELL KICK)
    WEST VIRGINIA (13) 10
    GEORGIA TECH 28 4:26 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    West Virginia vs. Georgia TechJan 1 2:27 PM


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    WEST VIRGINIA (13) 10
    GEORGIA TECH 21 9:16 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    West Virginia vs. Georgia TechJan 1 2:16 PM


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    AT JACKSONVILLE FL
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    CALVIN JOHNSON 48 YD PASS FROM TAYLOR BENNETT
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    GEORGIA TECH 21 13:58 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    West Virginia vs. Georgia TechJan 1 2:07 PM


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    AT JACKSONVILLE FL
    NCAAF END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    WEST VIRGINIA (13) 7 7
    GEORGIA TECH 14 14 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: WEST VIRGINIA - TD, OWEN SCHMITT 1 YD RUN (PAT
    MCAFEE KICK), 4:44. WEST
    VIRGINIA 7-0
    GEORGIA TECH - TD, CALVIN JOHNSON 41 YD PASS FROM
    TAYLOR BENNETT (T

    Jan 1 1:57 PM


  • GATOR BOWL
    AT JACKSONVILLE FL
    NCAAF GATOR BOWL
    TD GEORGIA TECH
    TASHARD CHOICE 3 YD RUN
    (TRAVIS BELL KICK)
    WEST VIRGINIA (13) 7
    GEORGIA TECH 14 3:13 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    West Virginia vs. Georgia TechJan 1 1:48 PM


  • GATOR BOWL
    AT JACKSONVILLE FL
    NCAAF GATOR BOWL
    TD GEORGIA TECH
    CALVIN JOHNSON 41 YD PASS FROM TAYLOR BENNETT
    (TRAVIS BELL KICK)
    WEST VIRGINIA (13) 7
    GEORGIA TECH 7 8:12 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    West Virginia vs. Georgia TechJan 1 1:35 PM


  • GATOR BOWL
    AT JACKSONVILLE FL
    NCAAF GATOR BOWL
    TD WEST VIRGINIA
    OWEN SCHMITT 1 YD RUN
    (PAT MCAFEE KICK)
    WEST VIRGINIA (13) 7
    GEORGIA TECH 0 10:16 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    West Virginia vs. Georgia TechJan 1 1:28 PM