Bits and Bytes: West Virginia - South Florida

Need some digestive help? Here are some easy to swallow, bite-sized portions to help you recover from your Thanksgiving feast and get back into shape for Saturday's game against South Florida. Game Scorecard
Series: WVU 1-0
Sat 11/25 Noon
Morgantown, W. Va.

Milan Puskar Stadium
Record: 9-1
USA/Coaches: 7th
Last Game
Pitt W 45-27

Click for Morgantown, West Virginia Forecast
Record: 7-4
USA/Coaches: N/A
Last Game
U of L L 8-31
Rosters/ Bios
Press Release
Season Stats
2006 Schedule
First Meeting: 2005
Last Meeting: 2005
Press Release
Season Stats
2006 Schedule


Although West Virginia's defense didn't suddenly morph into the 1996 edition, it did show some welcome aggressiveness in the second half against Pitt. WVU recorded five sacks in the final 30 minutes, bringing its game total to eight. While that total was four short of WVU's game record of 12 against Idaho in 2000, it did spark some hope for increased quarterback pressure for the final three games of the season.

The outburst gave WVU a total of 27 quarterback takedowns on the season. If West Virginia could muster 3-4 more per game, it would go a long way in producing the finish Mountaineer fans are hoping for.


USF punt returner Ean Randolph might like a little less help when he drops back on fourth down. Although his teammates have helped him to a 15.1 yards per return average (seventh in the nation), they have also committed penalties that resulted in three touchdowns being called back by penalties. Those occurred in the first two games of the season, with one coming against McNeese State and the other two against Florida international. Amazingly, Randolph did get return for a score without penalty against FIU. Had the other two not been called back, he would have set an NCAA record.


I must have been dazzled by the performances of Steve Slaton and Patrick White, because I've missed, or at least been inattentive, to their assault on the WVU record books.

If I listed them all, it would consume a full column. So here's just a few:

  • With 12 yards, Slaton will hold the best sophomore rushing performance in school history. His 1,578 yards trails Amos Zereoue's 1,589.

  • Slaton is already the single season all-purpose yardage leader with 1,873 yards.

  • White is two TDs away from tying Ira Errett "Rat" Rodgers' single season record of 19. Slaton is hovering five back with 14.

  • White is 32 yards away from supplanting Rasheed Marshall as the all-time Big East quarterback rushing leader. Marshall's mark of 2,040 yards will fall this week. He also trails Major Harris (2,161) by just 152 yards for the top spot in WVU history.

  • White already holds the top three single game rushing performances by a quarterback in Big East history. So much for Ron Mexico.

    There are many more to come, and we'll highlight those in coming editions. But by the time this duo is through, there is going to be a major rewriting of just about every offensive single game and career record at their positions.


    USF quarterback Matt Grothe, like WVU's White, isn't wasting any time in putting his name in the books. He already holds USF's single-game passing yardage record and the freshman season standard in the same category. And although he doesn't possess White's dynamics as a runner, he is a strong threat in that play phase. He has 50 or more yards rushing in seven games this year, and is the Bulls' leading rusher with 560 yards.

    Grothe and Illinois wide receiver DaJuan Warren are the only two players in the country to have stats in passing, rushing, receiving and punting. Grothe has one reception for 14 yards and two quick kicks, where he has averaged 26.5 yards per boot.


    In 111 games, South Florida has been shutout only once. That occurred in last year's Meineke Care Care Bowl, when North Carolina State blanked the Bulls by the score of 14-0.

    Of course, West Virginia probably won't need to pitch a shutout to win the game. The Mountaineers are averaging an eye-popping 44.4 points per contest in its five home games this year. That's more than the Mountaineer basketball team gave up through its first three home games.


    We have a lot of fun looking at stats, but sometimes they can be misleading. This one, however, isn't.

    After WVU's demolition of Pitt, in which it averaged more than ten yards per play, the Mountaineers are averaging 7.7 yards each time they snap the ball this year. Think about that for a moment! After the average first down play, West Virginia is looking at second and two or second and three. What kind of defense can you call to cover all the options in such a situation? (As if WVU needed many more offensive choices than what it has at the moment.)

    Third down and six or seven? No panic, just run the normal offense. More often than not, a first down is coming up.

    If nothing else, realize that these are heady times we're living in. Say it slowly. Think about what it means. Seven-point-seven yards per play. Unbelievable.

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