HOUSTON — West Virginia quarterback Keith White and split end Willie Drewrey, sideline observers in postseason play last year, each turned in fine performance Monday night to lead the Mountaineers to a 31-14 victory over Texas Christian in the 26th Bluebonnet Bowl.
White played three years in the shadows of Oliver Luck and Jeff Hostetler, and Drewrey, one of the top return men in the college ranks, sat out last year's Hall of Fame Bowl game on a suspension.
But they made up for lost time against a shocked TCU defense on the first two plays of the game as White threw passes of 38 and 28 yards to Drewrey, and White went on to toss three touchdown passes in a runaway first half.
"We wanted to play wide open because we felt we'd been too conservative in the last three games of the season," White said. "We didn't think TCU could cover our receivers, man to man. I don't think there's any team that can do that."
Drewrey, capping his collegiate career, said: "This proves that West Virginia is capable of playing with any team in the country. We came out and played well. We thought we could go deep on them."
TCU All-American running back Kenneth Davis suffered a bruised calf on the final play of the first quarter and never returned.
"It took the wind out of our sails, losing Kenneth," TCU Coach Jim Wacker said. "There's no doubt that it hurt us. When you lose an All-American, that's going to affect a lot of people."
TCU's defense faltered in the first half but held the Mountaineers scoreless in the second half.
"We played a decent second half, but we made a lot of mental mistakes in the first half, and West Virginia capitalized on them," TCU safety Byron Linwood said.
Both teams went into the game seeking redemption for season-ending losing streaks. West Virginia finished with an 8-4 record, ending a three-game losing string.
TCU, making its first bowl appearance in 19 years, lost its final two games of the regular season and finished at 8-4.
West Virginia's defense threw back two TCU fourth-quarter drives inside the Mountaineer 30 to preserve its third victory in four straight bowl appearances.
The Mountaineers built their first-half lead on White's touchdown passes of 2 yards to John Gay, 62 yards to Gary Mullen and 5 yards to Ron Wolfley, and John Holifield's one-yard run.
While the Mountaineers were scoring on five of seven first-half possessions, TCU's only score came on the Frogs' first drive, which ended in a five-yard pass from Anthony Gulley to Dan Sharp.
White fumbled after being hit by Linwood in the third quarter to set up a 20-yard touchdown catch by Keith Bennett from Gulley.
White, voted West Virginia's most valuable player in the game, completed 16 of 30 passes for 280 yards. Drewrey completed his collegiate career with 152 yards on six receptions.