A back to back sweep for our offensive player of the week as WVU downed Rutgers in the rain by the score of 27-14.
Steve Slaton, in his first starting assignment, rushed for 139 yards and a touchdown to help West Virginia slosh past Rutgers. Slaton averaged 5.6 yards per carry and toted the ball 25 times on the rainy afternoon.
Despite not playing a part in the passing game in high school, Slaton also showed his ability out of the backfield, as he caught three passes for 35 yards. His long reception went for 19 yards, while his best jaunt on the ground covered 33.
Slaton did a great deal of damage on WVU's stretch play, as he showed excellent patience in setting up his blocks.
Defensively, Boo McLee had an excellent game on both run and pass defense as WVU held Rutgers to just 3.1 yards per carry.
McLee had eight tackles, including six solos, and pounced on a Ray Rice fumble in the first half, which was the Scarlet Knights' first lost bobble of the season.
McLee also had a tackle for loss, but his biggest sequence came in the fourth quarter as Rutgers was attempting to cut the margin to one score. McLee first stuffed Rutgers fullback Brian Leonard for a loss of two, then cut the big fullback down again after a swing pass reception to hold him to a two-yard gain. That set up a third down and long situation which the Scarlet Knights could not convert, and resulted in a Pat McAfee field goal that put the Mountaineers up by 13 points.
Phil Brady earns the first game ball for his outstanding punting and placement. The senior averaged 45.8 yards on four kicks in the driving rain, and placed three of them inside Rutgers' twenty-yard line. His last boot covered 43 yards and went out of bounds on the Rutgers 12-yard line, and was the best, but certainly not the only, example of his excellent play.
Jason Gwaltney earns a game ball for his two big runs in third down and short situations. Gwaltney covered 20 yards on the first third and one situation to help set up a McAfee field goal, then ripped off a 24-yarder in the fourth quarter to position the Mountaineers for their final three points of the day. Unfortunately, Gwaltney sprained a knee just two plays later, an injury which could keep him out for multiple games.
Finally, Thandi Smith earns as many game balls as he can carry. The gritty senior blocked a punt and recovered it in the end zone for West Virginia's first score, then helped pin the Scarlet Knights deep as he blasted punt returner Tiquan Underwood dead in his tracks at his own six yard line.
To cap it off, Smith also played a good bit in WVU's SWAT third-down defense after Antonio Leows and Anthony Mims came up limping.