White sets NCAA mark, WVa tops Louisville, 35-21
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP)—It may have been the first time in his career Pat White took the easy way out.
Then again, the way the West Virginia quarterback has helped carry the Mountaineers the last four years, maybe he deserved the break.
White broke the NCAA record for career yards rushing by a quarterback in leading the Mountaineers to a 35-21 victory over Louisville on Saturday. The senior ran for 200 yards and three touchdowns to give him 4,292 yards for his career, breaking the record of 4,289 set by former Missouri quarterback Brad Smith from 2002-05.
While many of White’s yards have been spectacular, the run that broke the record wasn’t exactly highlight worthy. Leading by 14 late in the fourth quarter, White took the snap and ran to his left, getting the four yards necessary to set the mark before uncharacteristically sliding to safety.
Not that White is concerned with style points.
“When I’m done, I’ll sit down and think about it, reflect on it,” White said. “Right now I’m just thinking about the next two.”
Noel Devine added 154 yards rushing for West Virginia (7-3, 4-1 Big East), which ran for 376 yards while averaging nearly 10 yards a carry to send Louisville (5-6, 1-5) to its fourth straight loss.
The rushing mark wasn’t the only record White took down against the Cardinals. He added two passing touchdowns to bring his career total for touchdowns accounted for to 98, eclipsing the Big East record of 96 held by former Syracuse quarterback Donovan McNabb.
“I ran No. 5, put the ball in his hands,” said West Virginia coach Bill Stewart. “He’s the greatest young man. You witnessed something we may never see again.”
West Virginia kept its hopes for a second straight Big East crown alive thanks mostly to White, who had touchdown runs of 66, 43 and 7 yards against a team that has never figured out a way to slow him down.
“We had him dead-to-rights a couple of times and he gets away,” said Louisville coach Steve Kragthorpe. “We knew coming into the game we had to stop Pat, but we didn’t do that.”
Not too many teams have over the last four seasons, particularly the Cardinals. White has 1,115 yards of total offense—541 rushing, 574 passing— in four starts against Louisville and accounted for 12 touchdowns.
“I guess I’ve been pretty successful against them, I’ve been fortunate,” White said.
The Cardinals, not so much.
Louisville’s Hunter Cantwell threw for 276 yards with a touchdown but also had three interceptions. Brock Bolen ran for 77 yards and a touchdown in his final home game and the Cardinals put up 474 yards of total offense. But Louisville was undone by five turnovers and will need to win its season finale at Rutgers on Dec. 4 to avoid its first losing season since 1997.
“The margin for error when you’re playing good teams like West Virginia is very, very small, so you’ve got to make sure you’re capitalizing on every situation and we’re not doing that,” Kragthorpe said.
The Mountaineers-Cardinals matchup had become one of the Big East’s best since Louisville joined the conference in 2005.
Not this time.
The Mountaineers scored 14 points in less than two minutes early in the second half to take control. White hit Dorrell Jalloh on a 28-yard score to put the Mountaineers up 14-7.
West Virginia’s Ellis Lankster stripped Louisville wide receiver Chris Vaughn three plays later and the Mountaineers recovered at the Louisville 43. It took White 28 seconds to put the Mountaineers up two scores as he raced around left end 43 yards for a touchdown.
The score tied McNabb’s mark for career touchdowns accounted for. White didn’t waste a lot of time breaking it, scoring on a nifty 7-yard touchdown run that put the Mountaineers up 28-14 with 2:23 remaining in the third quarter.
“We got off to a sluggish first half, like we have in the past,” White said. “The second half, I think we played pretty well.”