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WVU backup Brown back to bench in Gator Bowl

| Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2006

Without backup quarterback Jarrett Brown, West Virginia wouldn't be going to a New Year's Day bowl.

His reward for pulling out a triple-overtime win over Rutgers in the regular-season finale• A seat on the bench for Monday's Gator Bowl between the 13th-ranked Mountaineers (10-2) and Georgia Tech (9-4).

"I know it was going to happen," the redshirt freshman said.

Unlike that freezing cold night more than a month ago, Brown won't be in the huddle unless starter Patrick White gets hurt again. But he'll never forget his one-game adventure.

Like the soft-spoken White, Brown's descriptions and reactions involve no more than a few words at a time in a barely audible tone. His smile says it all.

Does he play the Rutgers game over and over in his head?

"It was a great feeling," he said.

What does he remember the most?

"Every play. Every single play."

With White a late scratch as the starter with a sore ankle, Brown — who had played in four games previously in mop-up duty — got the call in a game with a Big East championship at stake for Rutgers.

Brown responded by throwing for 244 yards and running for a 40-yard touchdown. He threw the go-ahead TD pass and 2-point conversion pass in triple overtime that was the difference in the 41-39 win.

"The coaches wouldn't have put him out there if they don't think he can win a game," said running back Steve Slaton. "And that's exactly what he did."

Rutgers was out as the Big East's BCS representative. Louisville was in. And West Virginia was on to the Gator instead of a pre-New Year's bowl.

And just like that, Brown was back in the holster, having to wait for another chance.

White, only a sophomore, believes Brown will get not only plenty of snaps, but will have the chance to become a star.

"He's going to be one of the best quarterbacks to ever come out of this conference," said White, who as a 1,000-yard rusher and holder of several records already has reached that plateau.

Backup Gator Bowl quarterbacks became an important topic last week, when Georgia Tech announced that Reggie Ball was academically ineligible and that Taylor Bennett would start in his place.

Brown isn't counting on a relapse from White, who said last week his ankle was about 90 percent healed. But Brown isn't being forgotten.

"I think Jarrett understands he's going to have plenty of opportunities to prove himself, which he did in that game," coach Rich Rodriguez said. "I'm excited about him. I think Jarrett has got a great future. Jarrett's handled everything as well as you would hope from any quarterback in any situation in the country."

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