Pat White's Last Hurrah

Frank AhrensSenior Writer IDecember 4, 2008

On Saturday night shortly after 8 p.m., WVU quarterback Pat White will trot onto Mountaineer Field, settle into a semi-crouch a few yards behind center, look over the defense, stand back up straight, look over to the WVU sideline, get a play, step up to the line, bark it out to the left and then the right, walk back to his previous spot, settle into a crouch again, clap his hands together and take the shotgun snap.

Then, as has been the possibility each of the previous several hundred times he’s done the same thing over the past four years, anything at all could happen.

With the Mountaineers at a disappointing 7-4, with White’s Heisman hopes sunk by losses and missed playing time, with very little to play for on Saturday, I can think of no better final act for White than to beat the Bulls of South Florida.

Only once in the three previous years has White beaten the Bulls -- his freshman season, during which he ran for two long and thrilling touchdowns.

In 2006, during his sophomore season, South Florida harassed White into mistakes, knocking the ball out of his hands deep in his own territory and scooping it up for the deciding touchdown. That game didn’t ruin WVU’s season -- Louisville had already done that -- but it was a lousy way to end the season.

In 2007, South Florida took White out during the game with a helmet to the thigh, and that, coupled with a number of WVU fumbles and interceptions, ruined the first part of WVU’s season. (Pitt ruined the important part.)

Now, all that being said, South Florida has been very gracious to agree to wear its home green jerseys to allow WVU to wear its white jerseys as a tribute to White in his last home game.

Still, I can hardly think of anything more satisfying than watching White run for a couple of touchdowns and throw for a couple more in a sound thumping of the Bulls.

We’ll get one more chance to watch White play for WVU, in some yet-to-be-determined C-level bowl, and hopefully we’ll see him play in the NFL, but this will be the last time White will play at Mountaineer Field.

It’s a sad thing to think about. His impact on WVU and the Big East has been enormous, his contributions to both immeasurable.

There’s a good chance fans will never see another Mountaineer player as good as White. They may see a better-passing quarterback, but likely will never see a better winner, certainly will never see a tougher player -- quarterback, linebacker, you name it -- and probably will never see another quarterback who, when the ball is snapped, makes them catch their breath in anticipation of something they’ve never seen a football player do before.