GLENDALE, Ariz. - The West Virginia Mountaineers didn't need coach Rich Rodriguez. They had Pat White, and their elusive quarterback led them to a surprising 48-28 romp over No. 3 Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl last night.
White ran for 150 yards and threw for 176 and two touchdowns for the 11th-ranked Mountaineers, who rushed for 349 yards, most allowed by Oklahoma in a bowl game.
Since arriving in the desert last week, the Mountaineers (11-2) said they had bonded with interim coach Bill Stewart, who took over when Rodriguez bolted for Michigan in mid-December. And they vowed to rebound from a 13-9 loss to Pitt that knocked them out of the Bowl Championship Series title game.
The Mountaineers were right on both counts, turning in an emotional effort and overcoming the loss of star tailback Steve Slaton to a first-quarter leg injury. Noel Devine replaced Slaton and ran for 108 yards and two touchdowns - a 17-yarder and a 65-yarder that clinched the game in the fourth quarter.
The Mountaineers became the first of six teams to win under an interim coach in this bowl season. They improved to 2-0 in the Bowl Championship Series.
Oklahoma (11-3) endured another disappointment on the same field where the Sooners lost a classic Fiesta Bowl to Boise State one year ago. The Sooners have dropped four straight BCS games.