Best Mountaineer Ever? Pat White Electric in West Virginia Finale

Oliver VanDervoortCorrespondent IDecember 27, 2008

The question as to whether or not Pat White will be a quarterback at the next level can wait until tomorrow.  White put to bed the question as to whether or not he's one of the best college quarterbacks of his generation.  The argument as to whether he's the best quarterback to ever strap on pads for West Virginia might continue, though it shouldn't.

Major Harris and Marc Bulger were talented, and exciting leaders for their respective teams, but neither player had game plans geared for them the way White did in his career in Morgantown. 

It started the first year he stepped on campus.  White's freshman season saw him share time with Adam Bednarik, but when the season was over, it was apparent Rich Rodriguez had a special player on his hands, teaming with now-NFL running back Steve Slaton, the duo forged a frightening rushing attack, with Slaton running for 1,128 yards and 17 touchdowns, and White close behind with 952 yards and seven touchdowns.  He also threw for 852 yards and eight touchdowns, while completing 57 percent of his passes.

In 2006, Slaton and White were damn near unstoppable.  Slaton rushed for over 1,700 yards and 16 touchdowns, while White announced his presence as a marquee player, running for 1,219 yards and an astounding 18 touchdowns.  His 65 percent completion percentage, 1,655 yards and 13 touchdown passes served notice that Pat was not a one-dimensional threat.

2007 saw White take the team over as his own.  With the departure of Slaton, and replacement back Noel Devine still finding his rhythm, White lead the team in rushing with over 1,300 yards and 14 touchdowns.  White posted a career high in passing yardage with over 1,700 yards while completing 66 percent of his passes, and a touchdown to interception ration of 14-4.

This season, his final collegiate season, White saw his team struggle mightily at times.  With head coach Rich Rodriguez leaving before the team's bowl a season ago, Bill Stewart was anointed as the man to lead the team to the next level.  Their bowl victory over Oklahoma in 2007 lead to mistakenly high expectations for the season and back to back losses to East Carolina and Colorado essentially ended any chance at a National Title shot. 

White's performance in both losses were similar to his entire career, yet some began to wonder if the quarterback was as good as his hype.  Losses to Cincinatti and Pittsburgh late in the season, as the offense struggled did little to disprove his critics. 

But then came the upset win over South Florida, and finally the best performance of his career.  Against North Carolina in his final game, White threw for a career-high 334 yards, along with three touchdowns and just one interception.  He finished the season with a career-high 21 TD passes.

Individual stats don't tell the whole story for White, as he went to, and won, four bowls in his four seasons as a Mountaineer quarterback.  That feat has never been accomplished in the History of the school.  He's the career NCAA rushing leader for quarterbacks, a feat that is even more astounding when you consider that the game's first half century saw offenses that were predicated on running the ball almost constantly.

As I said, the debate over whether White is the best to ever play for West Virginia might continue, but it shouldn't.