West Virginia beats South Florida 13-7
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP)—Pat White threw a touchdown pass in his final home game and West Virginia mustered enough offense on a snowy field to beat South Florida 13-7 Saturday night.
Preseason Big East favorite West Virginia (8-4, 5-2) earned a share of second place with Pittsburgh and Rutgers, behind champion Cincinnati. Afterward, the Mountaineers accepted a bid to the Dec. 27 Meineke Bowl in Charlotte, N.C., to play an ACC opponent that will be announced on Sunday.
Despite losing four of its final five games, South Florida (7-5, 2-5) accepted an invitation to the inaugural St. Petersburg Bowl on Dec. 20 against an undetermined Conference USA opponent.
The Bulls outgained the Mountaineers 326-280 and had plenty of opportunities, but couldn’t score after halftime.
South Florida took over at its 32 with 5:36 remaining. Matt Grothe threw 16 yards to A.J. Love and ran for 14 more on the next play to the West Virginia 25. After J.T. Thomas sacked Grothe and the Taurus Johnson was called for a false start, Grothe threw 19 yards to Marcus Edwards for a first down to the 15.
But Grothe threw three incompletions and West Virginia ran out the clock.
West Virginia wore white road jerseys and pants in honor of White, who holds 16 school, Big East and NCAA records. Most of the 48,019 in attendance wore white and waved white flags.
The whiteout also included snow showers that continued throughout the game.
Playing healthy against South Florida for the first time since his freshman season, White couldn’t find the seams that helped him become the top rushing quarterback in major college history last month. He was limited to 40 yards on 15 carries and remains 81 yards shy of a third consecutive 1,000-yard season.
White completed 14 of 23 passes for 141 yards, including a 12-yard TD toss to tight end Tyler Urban in the first quarter.
South Florida drove into West Virginia territory on its first four drives. But safety Sidney Glover stopped two of them, recovering Mike Ford’s fumble at the 5 and intercepting Grothe in the end zone.
Grothe got the Bulls on the board with a 6-yard run early in the second quarter. West Virginia’s Pat McAfee kicked a 43-yard field goal as time ran out for a 10-7 halftime lead.
Ellis Lankster intercepted Grothe at the South Florida on the second play from scrimmage in the third quarter, resulting in McAfee’s 42 yarder.