The West Virginia Mountaineers football program has seen its fair share of success and despair in its time. A storied program that has been around since the late 1800s, playing the likes of Penn State, Pitt and Michigan in this old school football games. Fast forward a century, and two unlikely names begin to emerge in the Gold and Blue: Pat White, co-starter at quarterback alongside Adam Bednarik, and freshman running back Steve Slaton, who started out fourth in the depth chart to begin the 2005 season. The two would combine as one of the best dynamic duos to step onto campus at West Virginia. Let’s relive their best moments.
Revisiting WVU’s Dynamic Duo: Pat White and Steve Slaton
When you look at quarterback Pat White, you think there is no way he is their signal caller. The 6 foot, 190 pound football player not only called the shots for the Mountaineers, but was one-half of the best rushing tandem college football has ever seen. His acceleration was other worldly; his jukes in the open field left defenders in the dust. White was essentially a running back playing quarterback but had the arm ability to let it rip. It was as if Pat was a created player on the field, with his swag, before Reggie Bush, inspiring a whole generation of young football players to be as elusive as he was.
Wouldn’t be the college football fan I am today without Pat White. #5 was absolutely electric at WVU, especially with Steve Slaton. pic.twitter.com/JK0YYs4bKF
— Tommy Call III (@tommy_III) January 3, 2020
Sure, Michael Vick, Vince Young, and Tim Tebow were quarterbacks who played for better programs and went on to be far more successful than White ever became as a professional player. But White help put West Virginia on the map in the Big East, and made them an attractive place for up and coming football players to bury their roots. The importance of West Virginia’s runs from 2005-2007 did wonders for the Big East conference before it dissolved in 2013.
Someone that gets lost in the shuffle when discussing all-time great running backs is Steve Slaton. Like Pat White, Slaton had other-worldly speed and acceleration that made this duo so tough to stop. Slaton began deep in the depth chart at the start of the 2005 season, but quickly proved why he should get more carries by their fifth game against #3 Virginia Tech rattling of 90 yards and beginning to cement himself as a clear starter for the Mountaineers. Slaton broke off a ton of chunk runs and was literally unstoppable once he made it past the second level of the defense, often making defenders look silly trying to catch him.
We'll continue to flashback! How about Steve Slaton's high school highlights? pic.twitter.com/3ENfB0IxM9
— WVU Football (@WVUfootball) January 30, 2017
Coming out Party
If there was ever a way to put your stamp on a game, just ask Louisville about their match-up against the Mountaineers in 2005. This is the game when college football was introduced to one of the best duos in a thrilling three overtime game. West Virginia trailed 24-7 in the second half, after being shutout in the first half before Pat White and Steve Slaton led one of the most memorable comebacks in program history. Slaton tied a conference record for most touchdowns scored in a game, with six — in just the second half alone. He also added 188 rushing yards and was the catalyst for this epic comeback.
— WVU Football (@WVUfootball) May 30, 2019
Pat White did his part too. While the numbers weren’t gaudy, White still put forth 69 yards on 11 carries. Not to mention that White only played the second half of this game as well. The Mountaineers dominated with their rushing attack, rushing for 53 times for 281 yards. To put this game in perspective, Louisville was also a team full of talent, including quarterback Brian Brohm, and running back Michael Bush who tore the Mountaineers defense to shreds.
That game is considered as one of the best games of the season and help set the stage of who the Mountaineers would become over the next three seasons. Their 2005 season would finish with a huge BCS Bowl win over the Georgia Bulldogs. Slaton rushed for 204 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-35 win against a premiere SEC defense. West Virginia once against dominated with their rushing attack with, combining for 386 yards, with Slaton and White combining for 283 of those yards.
— WVU Football (@WVUfootball) August 15, 2019
When all said and done, the duo set an unbelievable amount of records together. Their 2006 game against Pittsburgh may be the best performance by a duo in college history. White finished with 204 pass yards, 220 rushing yards and 4 total touchdowns, while Slaton rushed for 215 yards, 130 receiving yards and 4 total touchdowns as well. It was simply a display of two players being the best on the field and the opposing coaches can’t stop it from happening.
Drive before halftime: Pat White with another dime to Steve Slaton for the 67 yard TD! pic.twitter.com/YeAl1qU5xR
— Lifelong TOMpa Bay Buccaneers fan (@FTBeard1) April 9, 2020
First drive of the 2nd half: Steve Slaton 10 yard run, next play Pat White goes 64 yards to the house!! 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/cwcFAG4Cyt
— Lifelong TOMpa Bay Buccaneers fan (@FTBeard1) April 9, 2020
The 2007 season was one for the books for this duo. Despite not being able to make it to a potential BCS National Championship, the Mountaineers enjoyed one of their best seasons ever. They capped it off with a huge upset win over Oklahoma, where White earned the MVP award after passing for 176 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 150 yards, marking the sixth career 300-yard game effort. Slaton didn’t get to make his mark on the game, but there was no need. The damage he did during his career will never be overlooked.
— SportsPaper (@SportsPaperInfo) November 23, 2018
Slaton and quarterback Patrick White combined for 43 total touchdowns in 2007, which accounted for more than 67 Division 1 football teams that season. They also combined for 5,460 total yards, the best output by the two in their three-year career together. Their three-year career together ended with 13,433 total yards and 106 total touchdowns combined.
Paving the Way
Pat White is the only QB in NCAA history to win four straight Bowl wins, with two of those being the Sugar and the Fiesta Bowl. White holds the NCAA record for rushing yards by a QB, with 4,480 yards under his belt. White played another season, and finished his career with a total of 10,531 yards and 103 touchdowns (56 passing, 47 rushing) over his career.
Pat White 4-0 as a starter in Bowl Games 🏆🏆🏆🏆
2005 Sugar Bowl vs UGA W
2006 Gator Bowl vs GT W
2007 Fiesta Bowl vs OU W
2008 Meineke Car Care Bowl vs UNC W pic.twitter.com/L5GRnGdnJh
— CFB Home (@CFBHome) May 2, 2020
Slaton finished his career holding several program records, including rushing touchdowns (50), total touchdowns (55), and the most points scored in program history by a non-kicker (318). He also finished top five in 100-yard rushing games (21), all purpose yards (4,775), receiving yards by a running back (805), and career rushing yards (3,923).
— WVU Football (@WVUfootball) September 21, 2018
These are the two players who changed how we view West Virginia football. Before, they were just a team fighting for legitimacy in the Big East. After White and Slaton, the likes of Noel Devine, Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey rolled their Morgantown, West Virginia. There is no way the Mountaineers get those high profile athletes without what Slaton and White did to pave the way for future football players that wore and will wear the Gold and Blue.
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