The ball sat at the 40-yard line with No. 3 WVU (10-1, 5-1 Big East) ahead 17-7. It was third and 10, and Connecticut, a quite literal significant underdog, was trying for stop to get back in the game. It had held West Virginia to two yards on its previous four plays, and was beginning to settle into the contest. White dropped and eyed the zone coverage before tucking and running through the line. He darted right and, noting the yard marker, juked left to pick up a key block.
White's reacceleration and open field move got him past the markers, and gave the Mountaineers a first and 10 at the 31-yard line. The 29-yard jaunt wasn't even close to his most impressive. But it was his most imperative. Superback Steve Slaton went the final 31 yards on the next play for a 24-7 lead with 3:44 left in the first half. The pair of runs put the duo over the 1,000 yard mark for a second straight season. It marked the third time in NCAA history that two teammates have gone over 1,000-yard mark in consecutive seasons. White and Slaton are the first quarterback-running back duo to do so; Arkansas' Felix Jones and Darren McFadden went over 1,000 earlier this season for a second straight year, and Minnesota's Marion Barber III and Lawrence Maroney accomplished the feat in 2003 and '04.
It also put UConn down by 17 points, and three possessions is at least one too many for a ball control team against an offensive juggernaut that has been stopped only by itself. The Huskies answered before the half, then watched White dance through them again for another touchdown that sealed the game at 31-14, even with 26 minutes left. In all, White rushed for 186 yards and two scores and completed nine of 13 passes for 107 yards and one touchdown.
"I think he is the best football player in the country," West Virginia head coach Rich Rodriguez said. "I am biased. But Pat has done it his entire career. When plays aren't there he makes plays. When plays are there he makes them even better. I am glad he is wearing the blue and gold for West Virginia."
The 186 yards were a career third-best, behind his 220 yards rushing against Pitt in both 2005 and 2006. These were somewhat quieter yards, but White's play has been irreplaceable.
"It was a great performance by us," White said. "The offensive line did an excellent job of blocking. They wore them out. They worked as a unit, all five guys together. There is a lot of speed in the backfield. It's a little dangerous. It gives defenses headaches. It's the biggest game in my lifetime. The Backyard Brawl. This team is focused. We were today, and it will carry into next week. We will be ready."