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October 14, 2006

Record-setting day for West Virginia

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. Quarterback Pat White ran for a career-high 247 yards and four touchdowns - three in the second half to break open a close game - and No. 5 West Virginia beat Syracuse 41-17 on Saturday for its 13th straight win.

White, who had just 15 carries, broke his own Big East and school records for rushing by a quarterback and nearly doubled his output for the season. He had 220 yards last year against Pittsburgh. It was the fourth best effort by any back in school history.

Steve Slaton added 163 yards and a score for West Virginia (6-0, 1-0 Big East), which matched top-ranked Ohio State for the nation's longest winning streak. The Buckeyes played at Michigan State later Saturday.

West Virginia's streak also tied a school record set in 1952-53. The Mountaineers' fifth-straight win over Syracuse is their longest in the 54-game series dating to 1945.

Syracuse (3-4, 0-2) trailed 17-14 at halftime but managed only a field goal after that in losing its ninth straight Big East game.

The Orange, who entered the game No. 2 in the nation in sacks with 26, abandoned their pass rush to focus on stopping the sophomore running duo of Slaton and White. The strategy failed.

West Virginia, the nation's second-best rushing offense, compiled a season-high 457 yards on the ground, the most since a 478-yard effort against East Carolina in 2004.

White, who entered the game with 270 rushing yards for the season, had a 69-yard TD run on West Virginia's opening series of the game.

His TD runs of 40, 32 and 12 yards on WVU's first three series of the second half put the Mountaineers ahead 38-14 late in the third quarter.

White (105 yards) and Slaton (101) became the first backs to surpass 100 yards against the Orange in the first half since Miami's Frank Gore and Clinton Portis in 2001.

West Virginia's defense, criticized by coach Rich Rodriguez for numerous mistakes in a win at Mississippi State last week, had problems early with coverage breakdowns and allowing long drives before playing a nearly perfect second half.

Perry Patterson's 47-yard TD pass to Mike Williams over three defenders on the game's opening drive marked the first time West Virginia trailed in a game since Oct. 15, 2005, against Louisville.

Slaton ran 52 yards around right end to put the Mountaineers ahead 17-7 midway through the second quarter.

Patterson then found Williams behind the defense again for a 30-yard gain to the West Virginia 16, setting up Patterson's 3-yard TD run on third down late in the first half.

Syracuse crossed midfield on four of its first six possessions but only once after halftime.

For more coverage of West Virginia, visit WVSports.com; for more on Syracuse, visit CuseConfidential.com.



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