ATLANTA - Every Georgia fan shared a favorite West Virginia joke this weekend leading up to the Sugar Bowl.
The state's football team provided its own punchline Monday.
Georgia couldn't stop the spread-option offense, and the Mountaineers proved they belong in a Bowl Championship Series game by defeating the Bulldogs, 38-35 at the Georgia Dome.
The Bulldogs (10-3) rallied from a 28-point deficit but couldn't complete the comeback. West Virginia tailback Steve Slaton scored on a 52-yard run, his third of the day, to put his team up 10 points midway through the fourth quarter.
Slaton, a freshman, finished with 204 yards to lead an unstoppable rushing attack, as the Mountaineers (11-1) rolled up 382 yards on the ground.
West Virginia's freshman quarterback, Pat White, matched his counterpart, Georgia senior D.J. Shockley.
Starting the first bowl game of his career, Shockley finished with 348 yards of total offense, throwing for 277 yards and three touchdowns.
Georgia fell behind 28-0 in the first 16 minutes of the game, as Slaton and White would have had a tougher time running down Bourbon Street than they did through Georgia's defense.
Slaton had runs of 11, 52 and 18 among his first nine carries and went over the 100-yard mark 50 seconds into the second quarter.
But after their slow start, the Bulldogs rolled up 250 yards and three touchdowns on their final three drives of the half. Shockley accounted for 162 of those yards, including a TD to Pope.
After the defenses stepped up in the second half, the Bulldogs looked like they would get the ball with just under 2 minutes left.
West Virginia lined up to punt near midfield, and Georgia had a return on. Instead, Mountaineers punter Phil Brady and ran for a first down to seal the game.