Sun Bowl: All hail WSU’s Charleston White

MIAMI HAD SEIZED the early Sun Bowl momentum and suddenly were up 14-7 – except the Hurricanes didn’t score. Before the UM receiver could compete the catch in the end zone, Washington State corner Charleston White turned in the play that turned the game.

White popped the ball loose and linebacker Peyton Pelluer nabbed it in the end zone for an interception. It was as if that play turned off the light switch on Miami. It's at about 0:48 in the video below.

White’s play sparked the Cougs, who scored on three of their next four possessions, building a 20-7 lead at halftime that (incredibly) held up. It might have had an even bigger effect on D.

After marching a combined 135 yards yards on their first two drives Miami -- after White’s play -- was held to 206 yards of total offense the rest of the game.  Instead of a 14-7 lead and a firm hand on Ol’ Mo, the Hurricanes would not score again until the fourth quarter, the last score of the game in a 20-14 Wazzu win. 

White has been in and out of the starting lineup this season. He started the season opener but was replaced by Marcellus Pippins the rest of the way at one corner spot, and then got two starts (Arizona, Stanford) when Darrien Molton was out injured.  But he had been getting more and more playing time in the final regular season games for the Cougs. 

And according to the official stats, he got the start at one corner opposite Molton in the Sun Bowl.

Takeaways are the great equalizer. White’s play that led to Pelluer’s pick was the 22nd takeaway of the year for WSU.

The Cougs would add two more to finish with 24 on the season -- after generating only eight in 2014.

The official stat book doesn’t credit White with a pass break up on the play in the end zone. The only tangible evidence is that Pelluer is credited with the interception.  

And in what has been a turnaround season for the Cougar D – and for Washington State overall -- there are also plenty of crimson candidates for the biggest takeaway.

White’s play early in the Sun Bowl, whether it shows up in the stat book or not, belongs squarely in that discussion.

--WSU finished 9-4, their first winning season since 2013.

--WSU went 7-2 over their last nine games.

--2015 Sun Bowl Awards:
C.M. Hendricks Most Valuable Player: Luke Falk
Jimmy Rogers, Jr. Most Valuable Lineman: Hercules Mata'afa
John Folmer Most Valuable Special Teams Player: Erik Powell

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