3:30 PM ET, September 2, 2006
MILAN PUSKAR STADIUM, MORGANTOWN, WV
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -- Steve Slaton's sophomore season started the same way he ended last year -- with a big performance.
Slaton ran for 203 yards and scored two touchdowns to lead No. 5 West Virginia past Marshall 42-10 on Saturday.
Slaton, the nation's top freshman in 2005 with 19 rushing TDs, had his second straight 200-yard game. He set a Sugar Bowl record with a career-high 204 yards in a win over Georgia in January.
Slaton was the backbone of the nation's fourth-best rushing attack last season and he tore up Marshall (0-1) in just the second meeting between the state's two Division I-A schools since 1923.
"The line and I had a good game plan coming in and we just executed," Slaton said. "I have been here a year and now know better what the coaches want. I make reads better and I recognize defensive schemes and what they are trying to do to stop me."
During preseason practices, coach Rich Rodriguez protected Slaton, who wore a special white jersey with red numerals that limited contact on him.
Rodriguez let him loose Saturday. Slaton's 33 carries were one shy of a career high.
"I think I can sustain that for 12 games," Slaton said. "I feel good."
Rodriguez didn't realize that Slaton had 21 first-half carries until he heard an announcement over the stadium's public-address system.
"That's an awful lot of pounding on a guy," Rodriguez said. "We've got to be conscious of that."
West Virginia (1-0), which is 6-0 all-time against Marshall, scored on four of its first five possessions and totaled 312 rushing yards.
"I'm very surprised that they could run the ball on the defense like they did," Marshall coach Mark Snyder said. "I don't see any positives with this game because there's a lot of work to do. We need to work on everything."
Slaton surpassed 100 yards early in the second quarter and had 140 by halftime.
He had a 14-yard TD run around right end midway through the first quarter and scored untouched from 16 yards out after making a hard cut to the right late in the half for a 28-7 lead.
Slaton also had a 10-yard TD run negated by a holding penalty in the second quarter.
West Virginia, whose ranking was its highest to start a season, opened its normally quiet passing game a bit, too. Pat White completed 10-of-14 passes for 168 yards.
He found Brandon Myles with first-half TD tosses of 8 and 18 yards as West Virginia built a 21-0 lead. It was the first career multiple TD game for Myles, a senior.
"He's seeing the field very well," Rodriguez said. "Pat's got a great feel for the game. He's always had that. And as he continues to grow, I think he's going to get even more explosive in the passing game."
Marshall, limited to just seven first downs in the first half, went to its passing game late in the second quarter for its only touchdown.
Freshman tight end Cody Slate caught passes of 26 and 14 yards to give Marshall its best field position at the WVU 25.
Matt Morris then made up for a dropped pass in the end zone earlier in the game by grabbing a 21-yard TD toss from Bernie Morris. The pass initially was ruled incomplete but Marshall challenged and the play was overturned for a touchdown.
Morris and Slate helped make up for the loss of two other receivers. Hiram Moore was suspended for the game after a drunken driving arrest last month and 6-foot-6 Shawn Lauzon was lost for the season with a hip injury in preseason practice.
"You have to play with who you have," Snyder said. "It doesn't matter who you are missing."
West Virginia fullback Owen Schmitt scored on a 3-yard run midway through the third quarter to cap a 66-yard drive that was set up by an interception by freshman Quinton Andrews.
WVU backup quarterback Jarrett Brown closed the scoring on a 7-yard TD run with 1:13 left in the game.
Marshall is 1-7 against ranked opponents since returning to Division I-A in 1997.
"We've got to be more ready for the mental part of the game," Slate said. "You can't start off slow on a team like West Virginia."
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Steve Slaton drove a stake through Marshall's heart when he scored his second touchdown of the day in the second quarter.
Gameball goes to... The sophomore sensations. QB Pat White went 10-for-14 and two TDs. Slaton rushed for 201 yards and two more TDs on 32 carries.
Stat of the game... 128, 309: West Virginia's ground game dwarfed Marshall's. The Mountaineers combined for 309 rushing yards to the Herd's 128.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||5-11||7-10|
|4th Down Conversions||0-1||0-0|
|TD||10:52||BRANDON MYLES 8 YD PASS FROM PAT WHITE (PAT MCAFEE KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 52 yards.
|TD||6:14||STEVE SLATON 14 YD RUN (PAT MCAFEE KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 61 yards.
|TD||7:36||BRANDON MYLES 18 YD PASS FROM PAT WHITE (PAT MCAFEE KICK)|
Drive info: 12 plays, 96 yards.
|TD||5:09||MATT MORRIS 21 YD PASS FROM BERNARD MORRIS (ANTHONY BINSWANGER KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 65 yards.
|TD||1:49||STEVE SLATON 16 YD RUN (PAT MCAFEE KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||6:54||OWEN SCHMITT 3 YD RUN (PAT MCAFEE KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 66 yards.
|FG||1:45||ANTHONY BINSWANGER 43 YD FG|
Drive info: 9 plays, 42 yards.
|TD||1:13||JARRETT BROWN 7 YD RUN (PAT MCAFEE KICK)|
Drive info: 12 plays, 73 yards.