White turns out lights on Cincy

Cincinnati knew it had to stop West Virginia's running attack. It didn't know how. The Bearcats tried to bottle the Mountaineer backfield, but couldn't contain Pat White as the freshman exploded for 211 total yards to lead WVU over Cincinnati 38-0 Wednesday at Nippert Stadium.

It was West Virginia's first shutout since a 40-0 win at Rutgers in 2002.

White benefited from a mix of solid running and timely passing that allowed West Virginia (8-1, 5-0 Big East) to avoid the potential trap game. He completed seven of 12 passes for 100 yards, including ones of 36 and 32 yards to Brandon Myles to set up scores.

But it was his 111 rushing yards that kept drives alive and eased pressure on the rest of the offense. White kept the first series going with a 17-yard scramble off a broken third-and-16 pass play. That, and Slaton's steady gashing of UC's front, opened the deep pass, which White completed to Myles to set up WVU's first touchdown.

The left-hander scrambled right and lofted an arcing toss downfield that hit off Myles and a defender before being caught by the diving wideout off the deflection. Three plays later Slaton scored from the four-yard line for a 7-0 WVU lead.

Needing three yards a drive later, White picked up seven. He ran for 35 yards the next drive. Cincinnati (4-5, 2-3) couldn't stop White, so it did the next best thing: it turned the lights out on him.

Nippert – the nation's fifth-oldest behind Georgia Tech and three Ivy League schools – lost power in two light towers with 14:06 left in the second quarter. The game delayed 10 minutes before officials asked WVU head coach Rich Rodriguez if he could play in it. His reply: "I guess, if we ran the ball a lot."

West Virginia immediately did otherwise, with White throwing deep to Myles for 32 yards to set up a second Slaton touchdown run – his ninth in the last four games – for a 14-0 lead with 12:55 left before the half.

Slaton finished with 129 yards on 25 carries (5.2 ypc) and four touchdowns. The 129 yards rank fourth-best all-time for WVU in the series. Slaton has 11 touchdowns in the last four games.

WVU forced consecutive fumbles on Cincy's next drive, recovering the latter at the UC 41-yard line. Eric Wicks forced the ball loose and Bobby Hathaway recovered. White? He capitalized.

Another designed keeper went for 31. Then, on the next play, White kept again for 13. And Slaton, two plays later, again scored for a 21-0 halftime lead.

By then, White, who finished with one of the top 12 most productive running game by a WVU quarterback in school history, had 109 yards on just seven carries (15.6 ypc).

White's first-half yardage alone were good for just the 20th time a WVU quarterback ran for 100-plus yards in one game. White also ran for 107 yards versus Wofford.

The Mountaineers, too, had statistical advantages in virtually every category, and when Cincinnati turned the ball over twice on three possessions (Mike Lorello's interception and Dee McCann's fumble recovery), WVU was ahead 31-0 on another Slaton touchdown and Pat McAfee's 28-yard field goal.

That had been the magic number: WVU had won its last 33 games when scoring 30 or more points. White, who had jumpstarted the win, made sure it held by effectively finished it by finding Darius Reynaud in the back of the end zone off a rollout pass for his fifth throwing touchdown. It was Reynaud's third touchdown catch of the season and his first since East Carolina.

The resulting 38-0 lead with 4:12 left in the third quarter was West Virginia's biggest cushion of the season. When White exited WVU has amassed 370 yards of offense (270 rushing, 100 passing). That pushed the season totals past 2,000 yards rushing and 3,000 total.

Cincinnati, which finished with 269 yards (the third-fewest ever allowed by West Virginia in the series) never challenged WVU and now must win its last two games, both on the road, to be bowl eligible.

The Mountaineers, which rank fourth in the NCAA in total defense and eighth in rushing defense, contained UC's triple-headed running back combination and quarterback Dustin Grutza. Grtuza went 15 for 21 for 110 yards and one interception while Bradley Glatthaar led UC with 38 rushing yards.

The only lowlight for West Virginia was its kickoff coverage, which allowed 106 yards on seven returns. That would have been much higher if not for a sky-kick that forced UC to start at its 10-yard line.

Co-starting quarterback Adam Bednarik entered for the final 11:20, running a bland offense that merely milked the clock. His only pass went for nine yards.

The road win sets up another nationally-televised midweek game, the Thanksgiving-Day Backyard Brawl versus rival Pitt. West Virginia can clinch at least a share of the Big East title with a win before its final game of the season Dec. 3 against South Florida.

Notes:

The announced attendance was 25,893.

WVU has now won 23 of its last 27 regular-season games and is 21-4 in its last 25 Big East games.

WVU ranked ninth nationally in rushing entering the game.

WVU is now 13-4 under Rodriguez in night games and are 6-1 all-time in Wednesday games, including 5-0 under Rodriguez with three of those on the road.

WVU now leads the all-time series 12-1-1. The last two games in the series had been decided by five points. The Mountaineers are 4-0 at Cincinnati.

WVU has won seven of its last eight Big East road games. It evened its all-time November road record to 108-109-11. It is 237-161-19 overall in November.

This is the first time West Virginia has posted fopur consecutive seven-win seasons since former head coach Don Nehlen's teams did it from 1981-85.


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