MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -- Pat White knew how to avoid getting
scraped up on West Virginia's frozen turf Thursday: Don't get
White ran for 220 yards on 23 carries to break the Big East
rushing record for a quarterback Thursday night, leading the No. 12
Mountaineers to a 45-13 victory over Pittsburgh.
With the victory in swirling snow flurries and a 7-degree wind
chill, West Virginia (9-1, 6-0) clinched at least a tie for the Big
East title and avenged a 16-13 loss to Pitt last year in the
"I knew after the first time I hit the ground I did not want to
hit it again," said White, who ran for two touchdowns and passed
White, a redshirt freshman, broke the conference quarterback
rushing record of 210 yards, set by Michael Vick against Boston
College in 2000. White also threw for 41 yards.
"This was as cold as I have ever been," he said. "I was just
trying to stay warm -- run into the end zone and go back to the
Steve Slaton, a true freshman, rushed for 179 yards on 34
carries to help the Mountaineers finish with 451 total yards on the
ground. Slaton ran for two TDs and caught a scoring pass.
"The ground was really hard, but after you run it a few times
it feels normal," said Slaton.
West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez said he was impressed by the
performance of his young players.
"When you have two fast guys, and they get a crease they can
make things happen," said Rodriguez. "I think it's taken a while
for our guys to get comfortable, but I think they are now."
"This is not the kind of finish that anybody wanted, in
particular our seniors," said coach Dave Wannstedt. "We feel bad
about a lot of things right now."
White led West Virginia to a 21-13 halftime lead, despite
passing only six times. He gained 151 yards on 15 carries in the
half, including two short scoring runs.
White ran for 80 yards on the Mountaineers' second drive of the
game -- including a 47-yard draw to the 1. White ultimately hit
Slaton with 16-yard touchdown pass.
Palko responded to West Virginia's opening score with a
three-pass drive, capped by a 64-yard touchdown pass to Lee. Palko
hit Lee with 31-yard pass to the back of the end zone early in the
second quarter, but the extra point failed on a fumbled snap.
Palko finished with 308 yards on 24-of-43 passing with two
"They beat us up," said Palko. "As much as it hurts me to say
it, they beat us up and down the field."
Josh Lay intercepted White's pass early in the second quarter on
the Mountaineers 41, but the Panthers went three-and-out.
On the first drive of the second half, West Virginia recovered
the ball on the Pitt 40 after Jay Henry knocked the ball out of
Erik Gill's hands. Pat McAfee hit a 29-yard field goal.
Fullback Owen Schmitt got in on West Virginia's running
attack early in the fourth quarter with a 44-yard run to the Pitt
21. Slaton scored on a 6-yard run to complete the drive.
Pitt couldn't close the gap late in the third quarter when
kicker Josh Cummings slipped on a 44-yard field goal attempt that
fell well short. Palko's fourth-down pass in the fourth quarter was
broken up in the end zone by Dee McCann.
Jamihle Addae wrapped up the scoring for the Mountaineers with a
41-yard interception return with 2:03 remaining.
Even with the Mountaineers' win, South Florida (6-3, 4-1) can
still force a conference tie by beating Connecticut on Saturday and
West Virginia on Dec. 3.
Pitt leads the Backyard Brawl series 59-36-3.
West Virginia retired Sam Huff's No. 75 after the first quarter,
the first Mountaineers player to be so honored. Huff played for the
Mountaineers from 1952-55 and led West Virginia to the 1954 Sugar
Bowl. The school is retiring basketball great Jerry West's number