MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -- Steve Slaton will have a hard time
winning the Heisman Trophy if he keeps getting upstaged like this
by running mate Pat White.
White, the West Virginia quarterback, ran for a career-high 247
yards and four touchdowns as the fifth-ranked Mountaineers defeated
Syracuse 41-17 on Saturday.
Slaton, who's been the main focus of West Virginia's Heisman
hype, was no slouch either. He ran for 163 yards and a touchdown as
the Mountaineers (6-0, 1-0 Big East) extended their winning streak
to 13 games, matching the school record set in 1952-53.
But White was the star against Syracuse. On 15 carries, he broke
his own Big East and school records for rushing by a quarterback
and nearly doubled his output for the season. He had 220 yards last
year against Pittsburgh. It was the fourth best effort by any back
in school history.
"I was making the right reads and the lane was there and I hit
it," White said. "I did not know I had that many yards, but it
The Orange entered the game No. 2 in the nation in sacks 26, but
that didn't help against the running of the sophomore running duo
of Slaton and White.
White scored three times early in the second half to break the
game open. Syracuse (3-4, 0-2) trailed 17-14 at halftime but
managed only a field goal after that in losing its ninth straight
Big East game.
"They are very explosive. You try to stop one thing and you
better make sure you get the other thing figured out," Syracuse
coach Greg Robinson said. "I give their receivers downfield credit
of doing a good job blocking."
West Virginia, the nation's second-best rushing offense,
compiled a season-high 457 yards on the ground, the most since a
478-yard effort against East Carolina in 2004.
White, who entered the game with 270 rushing yards for the
season, had a 69-yard TD run on West Virginia's opening series of
His TD runs of 40, 32 and 12 yards on WVU's first three series
of the second half put the Mountaineers ahead 38-14 late in the
"When you run your quarterback, you always hold your breath,"
West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez said. "But Pat, he's so fast.
If you can get him past the safeties, it might work."
White (105 yards) and Slaton (101) became the first backs to
surpass 100 yards against the Orange in the first half since
Miami's Frank Gore and Clinton Portis in 2001. White and Slaton
also surpassed 100 yards in the same game last year against
West Virginia's defense, criticized by Rodriguez for numerous
mistakes in a win at Mississippi State last week, had problems
early with coverage breakdowns and allowing long drives before
playing a nearly perfect second half.
"I do hope the way they played in the second half gets their
confidence back a little bit," Rodriguez said. "The most
disappointing aspect of today was the tackling. Our tackling was
probably as poor as it's been in a long time."
Perry Patterson's 47-yard TD pass to Mike Williams over three
defenders on the game's opening drive marked the first time West
Virginia trailed in a game since Oct. 15, 2005, against Louisville.
Slaton ran 52 yards around right end to put the Mountaineers
ahead 17-7 midway through the second quarter.
Patterson, who finished 9-of-21 for 146 yards, then found
Williams behind the defense again for a 30-yard gain to the West
Virginia 16, setting up Patterson's 3-yard TD run on third down
late in the first half.
"On offense, we were doing a nice job. I wanted to go back out
there and continue it," Robinson said. "We were in that locker
room thinking it's where we thought we'd be and that it was going
to come down to the fourth quarter. And unfortunately they came out
and boom, boom, boom."
Syracuse crossed midfield on four of its first six possessions
but only once after halftime.
The Mountaineers' fifth-straight win over Syracuse is their
longest in the 54-game series dating to 1945.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Halftime ended. The improved Orange hung with the Mountaineers in the first half, but Pat White's two 30+ yard runs for TDs in the third quarter put the game out of reach.
Gameball goes to... White. He wasn't able to air it out -- completing 12-of-19 with one INT -- but his 247 rushing yards and four TDs on just 15 carries opened up the game for West Virginia.
Stat of the game... 461: This is not what you would call a balanced offense. Of West Virginia's 564 total yards, 461 came from the ground game -- specifically, White and Steve Slaton.