WVU football had a split in games played at Georgia Dome

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 20: A view of the Georgia Dome implosion on November 20, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 20: A view of the Georgia Dome implosion on November 20, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The demolition of the Georgia Dome in Downtown Atlanta should elicit fond memories from football fans.

The structure was home to the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and a host of college football games. According to CNN, the structure stood for 25 years.

In those 25 years, the WVU football team played two games there. Both games drew national attention and one might just be the greatest victory in WVU football history.

The first game West Virginia played at the Georgia Dome was the 2006 Sugar Bowl. Normally, the Sugar Bowl is played in New Orleans, but this year was different because of Hurricane Katrina. The Superdome was ravaged by the damage and used as a shelter for local citizens for a time. It was in no condition to host a big game.

Atlanta served as an excellent back-up city. West Virginia and Georgia were to go head-to-head in this game. Right off the bat, the Mountaineers were huge underdogs. This was basically a home game for the Bulldogs.

Still, the WVU football team did not back down from the challenge. Freshmen Pat White and Steve Slaton continued their magical season by knocking off the Bulldogs, 38-35, in what was one of the biggest upsets in program history.

The Mountaineers had just one loss that season — early in the year to Virginia Tech  — and Georgia was the SEC champions with two losses. The WVU football team got control in the beginning and held on for dear life down the stretch. A gutsy call by then-head coach Rich Rodriguez preserved the victory in the final minutes as punter Phil Brady pulled off a fake and ran for a first down.

In the Sugar Bowl win, Slaton ran for 204 yards, with a long of 52, and three touchdowns. White was 11 of 14 passing for 120 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for 77 yards. Owen Schmitt had 82 yards. The win is considered to be the second-best game in WVU football history, according to Hail WV.

Related Story: Game 2: 2006 vs. Georgia

The second time the WVU football team played in the Georgia Dome wasn’t as thrilling. It had a lot of pre-game hype, like the Sugar Bowl, though it didn’t mean as much.

The Mountaineers were set to open the 2014 season in the annual Chic-fil-A Game against No. 2 ranked Alabama. The WVU football team fell, 33-23, but hung with the Crimson Tide for a good portion of the contest.

In the loss, quarterback Clint Trickett was 29 of 45 passing for 365 yards and a touchdown pass to Kevin White. The game served as White’s audition for the pros as all eyes were on the talented receiver. White had nine catches for 143 yards, which certainly helped him get drafted in the first round by the Chicago Bears in 2015.

White’s touchdown catch tied the game at 10 in the second quarter. The highlight for the Mountaineers was a 100-yard kickoff return by Mario Alford, which tied the game at 17 right before halftime. Alabama pulled away in the second half, thanks to a touchdown run by Derrick Henry.

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So, although the WVU football team didn’t play in the Georgia Dome often, Mountaineer Nation will remember the now-demolished building in a high regard.