for this game

White's late heorics save Mountaineers

Nov 9, 2007 - 7:26 AM MORGANTOWN, West Virginia (Ticker) -- Even with the nation's third-best running attack grounded, West Virginia still found a way to pay back a conference rival.

Pat White threw for two touchdowns and ran for the go-ahead score with 1:36 to play to lead the sixth-ranked Mountaineers past Louisville on Thursday night, 38-31, in a Big East Conference matchup.

One season after Louisville (5-5, 2-3 Big East) halted West Virginia's 14-game winning streak with a 44-34 victory that allowed the Cardinals to claim a Big East title and Orange Bowl berth, the Mountaineers (8-1, 3-1) used an opportunistic defense and efficient passing game to set themselves up for another conference title run.

Running back Steve Slaton finished with 60 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries. His performance was characteristic of the West Virginia running game in the contest, which Louisville held to 82 fewer yards than the 298 rushing yards the Mountaineers averaged entering the contest.

After Louisville kicker Art Carmody hit a 37-yard field goal with 3:10 remaining to knot the game at 31-31, White gave the Mountaineers the one big running play they needed at the most opportune time.

The junior signal-caller took a quarterback draw and broke free from the Cardinals' secondary for a 50-yard TD run to ice the contest at 38-31.

"He's a great football player and he just made a play at the end to win it," Louisville coach Steve Kragthorpe said. "Their offense has a quarterback that is so dynamic. He plays with his feet and throws the ball well. He does a good job of making people miss and when he took off, I just held my breath."

White's big run saved the Mountaineers from an embarrassing loss with a pathetic second half that saw West Virginia lose three fumbles - including two of his own - and commit eight penalties for 87 yards.

"We are going to work on ball security," West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez said. "We play one of the best teams that force turnovers (Cincinnati) and we need to prepare.

"As I told the team, I would rather win ugly than lose pretty. We certainly made enough mistakes to last the whole season but we know we are going to take a good shot from everybody. I am happy for the win."

White finished 16-of-25 for 183 yards to go along with 127 rushing yards.

Already leading, 24-14, midway through the third quarter, West Virginia appeared to be on its way to putting the game out of reach when linebacker John Holmes barreled through the Cardinals' pass protection on a blitz and jarred the ball loose from Louisville QB Brian Brohm.

Safety Eric Wicks recovered the fumble and returned it 44 yards for a touchdown to give the Mountaineers a 31-14 lead with 6:54 left in the third quarter.

West Virginia jumped out to an early 14-0 advantage near the end of the first quarter, as White found receiver Darius Reynaud twice in less than a two-minute span.

Brohm completed 27-of-46 passes for 344 yards and two scores, but he was intercepted twice, including the Cardinals' last-ditch effort as time expired. In his three career games against the Mountaineers, he has passed for 976 yards and five touchdowns.

This game marked the 52nd time this decade that West Virginia has scored at least 30 points in a contest - games in which the Mountaineers are 51-1.