Sat, Nov 18, 2006 - Page 18 News List

White and Slaton combine to put away the Panthers

AP , PITTSBURGH

West Virginia defensive back Antonio Lewis, left, celebrates with teammate Johnny Dingle after sacking Pittsburgh quarterback Tyler Palko in the fourth quarter of their game in Pittsburgh on Thursday.

PHOTO: AP

West Virginia stars Pat White and Steve Slaton weren't satisfied with running all over rival Pittsburgh. Now they're teaming up as a pass combination in a rivalry they've made one-sided with two spectacular games.

White and Slaton crossed up Pitt by teaming as a passing combination in a high-scoring first half, then put away the Panthers with a string of long runs in a comeback second half to lead No. 8 West Virginia's 45-27 victory on Thursday night.

The Mountaineers (9-1, 4-1 Big East) beat their biggest rival for the fourth time in five seasons, though not quite as easily as in last year's 45-13 romp in Morgantown in which White and Slaton combined for 399 of West Virginia's 451 yards rushing.

Pittsburgh (6-5, 2-4) led 27-24 at the half before being overwhelmed by West Virginia's playmaking speed in a scoreless second half in which the Mountaineers ran for 371 of their 438 yards rushing.

White, the sophomore option quarterback whose quickness again was too much for Pitt to handle, threw for 204 yards and hit Slaton on the running back's first two touchdown receptions this season. White then ran for touchdowns of 64 and 19 yards on the Mountaineers' first two possessions of the second half. He finished with 220 yards rushing against Pitt for the second season in a row.

Slaton, the nation's No. 2 rusher, was held to 7 yards on six carries in the first half, but still became the first player in school history to have more than 100 yards rushing (215) and receiving (130) in a game. He had touchdown runs of 15 and 55 yards and scoring catches of 11 and 67 yards, as well as another 43-yard catch as a slot receiver. Slaton ran for 179 yards against Pitt last season.

The Panthers must beat No. 10 Louisville on Nov. 25 to avoid a season-ending five-game losing streak after starting 6-1. They already are assured of their first losing record in the Big East since 1999. West Virginia remains in contention for a BCS bowl despite losing to Louisville two weeks ago.

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