8:00 PM ET, November 24, 2005
MILAN PUSKAR STADIUM, MORGANTOWN, WV
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -- Pat White knew how to avoid getting scraped up on West Virginia's frozen turf Thursday: Don't get tackled.
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 Backyard Brawl.
"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 for another.
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 sideline."
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 interceptions.
"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 on Saturday.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Steve Slaton's 3-yard touchdown run made the score 31-13 West Virginia with just over 12 minutes left in the game.
Gameball goes to... Pat White. The Mountaineer quarterback ran for 220 yards -- a West Virginia QB record -- and two TDs. He also threw for one score.
Stat of the game... 451-122: That was West Virginia's advantage in rushing yards on Thursday.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||7-15||4-10|
|4th Down Conversions||0-2||0-1|
|TD||8:01||STEVE SLATON 16 YD PASS FROM PAT WHITE (PAT MCAFEE KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 82 yards.
|TD||6:36||GREG LEE 63 YD PASS FROM TYLER PALKO (JOSH CUMMINGS KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 78 yards.
|TD||1:30||PAT WHITE 4 YD RUN (PAT MCAFEE KICK)|
Drive info: 11 plays, 74 yards.
|TD||12:08||GREG LEE 31 YD PASS FROM TYLER PALKO (MISSED KICK)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 73 yards.
|TD||1:43||PAT WHITE 6 YD RUN (PAT MCAFEE KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 49 yards.
|FG||8:42||PAT MCAFEE 29 YD FG|
Drive info: 9 plays, 28 yards.
|TD||12:23||STEVE SLATON 3 YD RUN (PAT MCAFEE KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 73 yards.
|TD||5:52||STEVE SLATON 6 YD RUN (PAT MCAFEE KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 85 yards.
|TD||2:03||JAHMILE ADDAE 40 YD INTERCEPTION RETURN (PAT MCAFEE KICK)||14||45|