East Carolina 7

(1-3, 0-2 away)

(5) West Virginia 48

(4-0, 2-0 home)

12:00 PM ET, September 22, 2007

Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, WV

1 2 3 4 T
ECU 0 0 0 77
#5WVU 10 17 14 748

Top Performers

Passing: P. White (WVU) - 181 YDS, 2 TD

Rushing: S. Slaton (WVU) - 18 CAR, 110 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: D. Reynaud (WVU) - 5 REC, 54 YDS, 2 TD

West Virginia presents huge challenge for East Carolina's run defense

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -- It's just what East Carolina didn't want to see on film -- another offensive threat at No. 5 West Virginia.

As if the speedy duo of quarterback Pat White and running back Steve Slaton don't present enough of a challenge when the Pirates (1-2) play the Mountaineers (3-0) on Saturday, along comes Noel Devine, a promising freshman whose dazzling high school highlights have been viewed more than 1 million times on the Internet.

Devine's resume has been updated recently -- last week he ran for 136 yards on five carries in a 31-14 win at Maryland.

"His side-to-side speed is ridiculous," said Pirates defensive lineman Mark Robinson. "He made two people miss coming in two opposite directions."

West Virginia could use the extra presence to figure out how to penetrate the only unit that has held the Mountaineers under 200 yards rushing in each of the past two seasons.

To take some wind out of the Pirates' sails, neither Slaton nor White were starters yet two years ago. And West Virginia won both times anyway.

West Virginia is 6-0 against East Carolina under Rich Rodriguez, and it was not long ago when the talk was about how many, not how few, yards the Mountaineers would run up on the Pirates.

In a three-year stretch the Mountaineers averaged 458 yards on the ground against East Carolina. Kay-Jay Harris had 337 yards alone to set a school record in 2002.

East Carolina is allowing only 86 rushing yards per game. To get Slaton past the 80 yards he struggled to reach a year ago against the Pirates, West Virginia will have to pin down linebackers Quentin Cotton and Pierre Bell. The pair lead East Carolina with 25 and 23 tackles, respectively.

Cotton "has played as well as any linebacker I've seen in the last couple of years," Rodriguez said. "He did that against us last year. But just watching him on film against Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Southern Miss, he's all over the field."

The Mountaineers will be looking for a better performance out of White, who last week was limited to 26 rushing yards, fumbled three times and threw for only 95 yards against Maryland.

"That was a bad game for me," White said. "But we have other athletes on this team."

Like Slaton, who ran for 137 yards against Maryland, and Devine, who won't be the only player in the game getting an unanticipated workload this early in the season.

Junior Patrick Pinkney, a former third-string quarterback, has taken over East Carolina's offense after Rob Kass was suspended for the opening loss to Virginia Tech following his arrest for driving while impaired.

Pinkney went 31-of-41 for 406 yards and three scores in his first career start, a 34-31 win two weeks ago over North Carolina. He followed that up with a 20-for-33 performance for 203 yards in a 28-21 loss to Southern Mississippi.

He's also the team's leading rusher at 36 yards per game.

"They've got a quarterback that can scramble and get out of trouble. We've got to be disciplined defensively and get pressure on him," Rodriguez said.

Pinkney will get his shot against a West Virginia defense that's allowing quarterbacks to complete 63 percent of their passes.

"I've just got to take advantage of the opportunity," Pinkney said.


Passing Leaders

S. Carden62.93216205
K. Benkert80.05801
C. Trickett67.132851810
S. Howard60.019820

Rushing Leaders

B. Allen987347.57
C. Hairston563646.52
R. Shell1426204.46
W. Smallwood1336124.62

Receiving Leaders

J. Hardy80100212.57
C. Worthy3163320.42
K. White98127013.09
M. Alford5780214.18