ECU puts up a fight, but No. 4 West Virginia pulls away late

GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- Patrick White showed there's more to
West Virginia's offense than just handing off to Steve Slaton.

White threw for a personal-best 216 yards and two touchdowns and
ran for another score, and the No. 4 Mountaineers overcame Slaton's
least-productive game of the season and pulled away late in a 27-10
victory over East Carolina on Saturday night.

"I guess we can throw it around a little bit," White said.
"They did a good job of defending the run. Their safeties came
down, defended the run well."

White was 17-of-24 passing with touchdown passes of 3 yards to
Owen Schmitt and 60 yards to Darius Reynaud. The Mountaineers (4-0)
shook off some sloppy play -- including White's three interceptions
-- to win their 11th straight game.

"I go back to a few years ago, when we were mad at certain wins
if we didn't think we won by enough," coach Rich Rodriguez said.
"I'm not going to be that way."

The Pirates held Slaton, who entered as the nation's
third-leading rusher, to 80 yards -- less than half of his 168-yard
average -- and afterward he said he was bothered by cramps blamed on
the hot, humid weather.

"They came in very prepared, and we were in their yard,"
Slaton said. "We can't have the best games every week. There's
going to be times you get stopped, and that's what happened

West Virginia entered as the nation's top rushing team and hoped
to roll up big numbers again on an East Carolina defense that
ranked among the worst in Conference USA against the run.

But coach Skip Holtz's Pirates refused to allow the Mountaineers
to run wild, leaving it up to White to make the big plays.

West Virginia led just 17-10 early in the fourth quarter when
White flipped a pass to Reynaud, who zigzagged 60 yards back across
the field and through the Pirates' defense for the clinching

"That was a good gut check for us," Rodriguez said.

Reynaud finished with five catches for 110 yards and became the
first West Virginia player with more than 100 yards receiving since
November 2004, when Chris Henry had 118 against Boston College.

West Virginia needed big passing numbers because East Carolina
derailed the Mountaineers' ground game for the second straight

"We probably pressed a little bit too much," Rodriguez said.

The Mountaineers had just 153 yards rushing -- 197 fewer than its
nation-leading average of 350; a year ago, East Carolina held West
Virginia to just 127 yards rushing.

James Pinkney was 20-of-40 for 247 yards with a touchdown for
the Pirates (1-3), and Aundrae Allison had four catches for 54
yards and a touchdown. But East Carolina couldn't get its ground
game going, either -- Brandon Fractious led the Pirates with 13
yards rushing, and the Pirates finished with 41 yards on the

"We have to start running the ball to win games," Holtz said.
"We can't put the quarterback back there and have everyone know
what we're doing and let him continue to take the shots he's

West Virginia dominated the first half, holding three-touchdown
underdog East Carolina to 2 yards rushing and gaining 221 yards to
the Pirates' 87, but led just 14-7 at halftime largely because of
two interceptions thrown by White in the end zone.

White capped West Virginia's opening drive with a 5-yard
touchdown run, then flipped his scoring pass to Schmitt early in
the second quarter to snap a 7-all tie.

Pinkney found his favorite target -- Allison -- behind the West
Virginia defense for a 47-yard touchdown pass midway through the
first, tying it 7-7.

Pat McAfee had field goals of 26 and 29 yards in the second half
for West Virginia.

The Pirates closed to seven points early in the fourth on Robert
Lee's 27-yard field goal.

"It's frustrating to watch a team play that hard and improve as
much as they have in some areas but continue to come up short,"
Holtz said.


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