All that glitters ...
MORGANTOWN, W. Va. -- All that glitters is not gold. Sometimes it's White.
West Virginia quarterback Patrick White had one of those golden moments in Mountaineer football history when he broke loose on a 50-yard touchdown run with 1:36 left to play to break a 31-31 tie and give WVU a 38-31 victory over Louisville.
On a night designated "a gold rush" by Mountaineer Coach Rich Rodriguez, asking his fans to come dressed in gold and dressing his WVU players in gold jerseys and pants for the first time ever, WVU let a game that seemed to be well in hand almost slip away.
But just when it appeared that the evening was turning into fool's gold, White performed is heroics.
In a way it was redemption for White, whose lost fumble had allowed Louisville to move down for a game-tying, 37-yard field goal by Art Carmody.
WVU took over at its own 35 with less than 3 minutes to play and with nearly no one in the crowd of 60,992 having left Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium.
By this time Louisville had a pretty good idea that it was White and White alone that it had to stop. Steve Slaton had been a non-factor in the game, rushing for only 60 yards on 178 carries while also fumbling the ball away. His performance against a team that has not played much defense this year frustrated the Mountaineers all night.
It reached the point that on one drive late in the game he ran the ball on seven consecutive plays, finishing the night with 147 yards on 24 carries.
Starting at his 35 he completed a 9-yard pass to Jock Sanders, ran a quarterback draw for 4 yards and first down.
After a holding call set WVU back White completed a 12-yard pass to Dorrell Jalloh.
On the next play, White went back to pass, moved to his left, saw an opening and unleashed a burst of speed that put him into the secondary almost before anyone in the stadium realized he was off and running. No one was near him as he got to the 5, an arm upraised as he crossed the goal line.
The Mountaineers then stopped Louisville, the final play of the game being an intercepted Hail Mary pass from Brian Brohm by cornerback Antonio Lewis.
WVU had to overcome it's own ineptitude to win the game, including three lost fumbles, 11 penalties for 116 yards and a 9-yard punt by fullback Owen Schmitt.
"I'd rather win ugly than lose pretty," said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez had called for a gold rush from his fans early in the week.
"I want everyone to wear gold to the Louisville game," he said. "Gold shirts, gold hats. i don't know the women will look in gold, but they should wear gold, too. Gold shoes, everything. We can make a gold rush."
And the fans certainly listgened. "the atmosphere, to come out into that sea of gold out of the tunnel was awfully impressive," Rodriguez said.
White was in charge from the start, throwing a pair of touchdown passes to Darius Reynaud of 9 and 7 yards tgo vie WVU a 14-0 lead. Brian Brohm countered with a touchdown pass for his own and ran a yard for a touchdown around Slaton's1-yard touchdown as WVU left at halftime on top 21-14.
After a Pat McAfee field goal made it a 10-point lead, ther was another of those golden moments, this one once again involving WVU safety Eric Wicks and Brohm.
You might recall the last time Brohm and Wicks crossed paths. it was two years ago on this ame Mountaineer Field turf, the most thrilling game in the stadium's history in the balance. WVU had come from behind 28-7 in the final 10 minutes of regulation behind White, who had come off the bench and replaced an injured Adam Bednarik, and a magnificent debut performance by Slaton, who scored six touchdowns while rushing for 188 yards.
The final touchdown was followed by a two-point conversion pass from White to Jalloh, only to have Louisville match the TD. Now the Cardinals were a two-point conversion from tying the game and forcing a fourth overtime.
Brohm went back to pass, could find no receiver, tried to scramble but was met at the goal line by Wicks, who dropped him in his tracks and gave the Mountaineers one of the most important victories in their history for it turned the program completely around.
"I remember everything about that play," Brohm said earlier this week. "it was a five-wide set, 2-point play. The three inside guys wentg across the goal line and turned around and we had two end cuts in the back. West Virginia covered it up and I tgried to run and the linebacker got me at the 1. Yeah, I remember that play pretty well."
Now he has something else to remember about Wicks … if he can remember it.
Brohm was hit as he faded to pass by John Holmes, the ball bouncing from his grasp and into Wicks' arms, who caught it in full stride and went 44 yards into the end zone.
That would be the last score until White performed his heroics, putting an end to a 24-carat performance.