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Slaton tops 200 yards rushing (again) as No. 5 WVU cruises

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."