EL PASO — Out of nowhere and into the record books.
Ute running back John White, an unknown transfer from Harbor College, broke a three-decade-old school rushing record, carrying for 115 yards in Utah's 30-27 Sun Bowl win over Georgia Tech on Saturday.
Oh, and there was that other thing: scoring the winning touchdown.
"I expected to get the ball, so it was nothing more than that, I just wanted it more than anybody else," White said.
He's now officially in the books, among the Ute greats, after a summer of obscurity.
"I was not surprised at all. I came into the summer third string, into the fall third string. But I never knew I was going make a difference like this," he said.
With the game-winning touchdown, an eight-yard draw play, he finished the season with 1,519 yards rushing, passing Carl Monroe, who carried for 1,507 in 1982. White's 26 carries also pushed him past Monroe on the all-time charts for a season (318). Monroe had 309.
A 5-foot-8, 186-pound junior, White became a surprise commodity after transferring from junior college in the spring. He earned second-team All Pac-12 honors after carrying for 1,404 yards in the regular season.
His touchdown on Saturday gave him 15 for the season, eclipsing Marty Johnson's 2004 school record.
White didn't put up big numbers every game, but when he did, they were impressive. He went for 205 yards against Oregon State, 185 vs. Washington State, 174 against BYU, 171 against Pitt, 167 against UCLA, 109 against Arizona and 115 vs. Georgia Tech. He lost nine yards on rushes Saturday.6 comments on this story
Utah lost each of the five games in which he gained less than 100 yards, and won the eight games in which he went over the century mark.
White had just 44 yards in the first half of the Sun Bowl, 15 being his longest run. He started off the second half with an early 20-yard burst.
White scored 15 rushing TD's this year, also a school record.
"We knew what we needed to do and we just ran with it," said White. "We put everybody on our shoulders."
He was named the Sun Bowl MVP.
"I did not expect that," he said. "I just thank everybody for that."