3:30 PM ET, September 1, 2007
MILAN PUSKAR STADIUM, MORGANTOWN, WV
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -- With Pat White and Steve Slaton on the field, points were easy to come by for No. 3 West Virginia.
White passed for two touchdowns and ran for two more, and Slaton scored four times as the Mountaineers came up with their highest scoring game in six years in a 62-24 rout of Western Michigan on Saturday.
"I think it is important to start games on the right foot, running and passing," White said after completing 10-of-18 for 192 yards and running for 97 yards. "We do that, I don't think we can't be stopped."
It was the Mountaineers' highest scoring home opener since 1988 and its most productive game since an 80-7 win over Rutgers in 2001, WVU coach Rich Rodriguez's first season. West Virginia improved to 5-0 against Mid-American Conference schools under Rodriguez.
"I thought it was a pretty good effort for the first game. You always worry about execution and missed assignments. I felt the intensity was great," Rodriguez said. "Pat White was his usual self. Everyone wants to have that special player."
West Virginia, whose highest-ever ranking matches its climb to No. 3 midway through last season, committed few miscues and wasn't wondering about whether Slaton and White would score, but how often.
Western Michigan's defense, sixth in the nation against the run last season, couldn't corral one of the nation's top rushing tandems, and that emphasis also allowed White to thrive through the air.
The junior sprained his left throwing wrist in the first half, but still finished with solid numbers in improving to 16-2 as a starter.
Slaton, White's roommate and the nation's fourth-leading rusher a year ago, ran for 109 yards as the Mountaineers broke the game open with two scores in a 1:15 span early in the third quarter.
Held to 21 yards in the first half, Slaton went 58 yards untouched up the middle on West Virginia's second possession after halftime.
West Virginia's Reed Williams then intercepted Tim Hiller on second down to set up White's 22-yard TD run a short time later for a 42-14 lead.
"It became an avalanche in the second half with those guys," Western Michigan coach Bill Cubit said. "I thought we had White back there once for a sack and all of a sudden he goes and gets a first down. That's what really killed us in the second half."
West Virginia's revamped defense was missing free safety Quinton Andrews, cornerback Ellis Lankster and linebacker J.T. Thomas, all sitting out the game after their arrests in recent months.
First-time starter Mortty Ivy at linebacker led WVU with 10 tackles Saturday, including a sack. Michigan transfer Ryan Mundy was solid. The Mountaineers intercepted Hiller twice and forced him to scramble all day, while Western Michigan managed just 32 yards rushing on 32 carries.
Hiller, who missed last season with a knee injury, was 16-of-25 for 160 yards. He was replaced midway through the third quarter by Thomas Peregrin.
"I threw some balls into coverage and put our defense in some bad situations," Hiller said. "You have to keep your defense off the field when you're facing a great offense like that."
White found Dorrell Jalloh over the middle for a 19-yard scoring pass on West Virginia's first possession. Later in the first quarter, Slaton took a screen pass and raced 50 yards up the left sideline for a touchdown.
On the third play of the second quarter, White broke outside, waited for several blockers near the goal line and scored on a 38-yard run for a 21-6 lead.
"Nothing has changed. He has the same old steps," Slaton said. "I have seen it for three years."
Western Michigan's Brandon West couldn't handle a low option pitch and West Virginia's Larry Williams recovered at the Broncos 37 to set up the first of Slaton's two 1-yard TD runs for a 28-6 lead late in the half.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Steve Slaton caught a 50-yard bomb from QB Pat White with less than three minutes left in the first quarter to put WVU up 14-6.
Gameball goes to... White. Slaton had a great game (108 yards, 4 TDs), but White showed critics he has an arm, throwing for 192 yards and two TDs and rushing for two more.
Stat of the game... 32. West Virginia gave up 245 yards in the air, but the Mountaineers allowed just 32 yards rushing on 32 attempts.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||8-19||7-10|
|4th Down Conversions||1-1||1-2|
|TD||9:35||DORRELL JALLOH 19 YD PASS FROM PATRICK WHITE (PAT MCAFEE KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 59 yards.
|TD||4:12||JAMARKO SIMMONS 14 YD PASS FROM HERB MARTIN (MISSED KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 65 yards.
|TD||2:38||STEVE SLATON 50 YD PASS FROM PATRICK WHITE (PAT MCAFEE KICK)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 58 yards.
|TD||14:01||PATRICK WHITE 38 YD RUN (PAT MCAFEE KICK)|
Drive info: 2 plays, 37 yards.
|TD||4:46||STEVE SLATON 1 YD RUN (PAT MCAFEE KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 37 yards.
|TD||0:18||TIM HILLER 2 YD RUN (BRANDEN LEDBETTER 2PT PASS FROM TIM HILLER)|
Drive info: 14 plays, 74 yards.
|TD||9:54||STEVE SLATON 58 YD RUN (PAT MCAFEE KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 85 yards.
|TD||8:39||PATRICK WHITE 22 YD RUN (PAT MCAFEE KICK)|
Drive info: 2 plays, 22 yards.
|TD||5:14||JAMARKO SIMMONS 6 YD PASS FROM THOMAS PEREGRIN (MIKE JONES KICK)|
Drive info: 11 plays, 65 yards.
|TD||1:59||STEVE SLATON 1 YD RUN (PAT MCAFEE KICK)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 50 yards.
|TD||8:39||JARRETT BROWN 20 YD RUN (PAT MCAFEE KICK)|
Drive info: 12 plays, 66 yards.
|FG||4:26||MIKE JONES 34 YD FG|
Drive info: 4 plays, -2 yards.
|TD||1:24||NOEL DEVINE 8 YD RUN (MISSED KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 61 yards.