Bits & Bytes: West Virginia - East Carolina

Another early kickoff means a rush for pre-game tailgates, but there will be plenty of time for our final nuggets and notes on the Mountaineer-Pirate battle.


Steve Slaton trails career rushing touchdown leaders Ira Rodgers and Avon Cobourne (42) by just one score. Slaton has been remarkably consistent over his career, failing to score in only three games as a starter – and one of those was a three-carry appearance against Georgia Tech while severely hampered by a thigh bruise.

With 59 yards of any sort, Slaton will also surpass Rashaan Vanterpool (3,850) for fourth place on WVU's career all-purpose yardage list. A monster day of 180 yards would vault him past Artie Owens (3,971 yards) into third.


Noel Devine's 136-yard effort against Maryland was spectacular, but there have been other single-digit carrying performances that have topped it.
Game Info
WVU 3-0, 0-0
ECU 1-2, 0-1
Sat 9/22/07 Noon
Milan Puskar Stadium
Series: WVU 16-2-0
Dave Pasch (play-by-play),
Andre Ware (analyst),
Erin Andrews (sideline)
Coaches: WVU 5th - ECU NR
Line: WVU -22
It took Devine just five carries to rack up those 136 yards (an average of 27.2 yards per carry, but he wasn't the first Mountaineer to achieve that feat. In fact, there have been four other performances that exceeded Devine's show -- and three of them belong to a wide receiver.

The player in question is Danny Buggs -- master of the reverse and end around during his Mountaineer career. Buggs put up the all-time average record of 33.3 yards per carry (100 yards on three totes) against William and Mary in 1972 and, then doubled up with 159 yards on four carries (an average of 29.8) against Syracuse later that year. For good measure, he did it again vs. Richmond a year later, racking up 111 yards (27.8 per carry) on four carries.

Going back a few years, Bob Moss also edged Devine's average by carrying four times for 110 yards (27.5) against Marquette in 1955. Jim Walthall is the only other Mountaineer to gain 100 yards on fewer than ten carries when he rang up 134 on five plays (26.8) against Case Western.

Devine can be content, however, in knowing that he is the first player in school history to break 100 yards on just two carries. His first two touches against Maryland yielded 107 yards.


Eighty-one players on ECU's 112-man roster hail from North Carolina. That ratio of in-state players (72.3%) is the 16th highest in the nation. We're not sure who compiled that statistic, but it much have been a heck of a lot of work. San Jose State (97%) has the highest percentage of in-state players on its roster.


West Virginia has rightly received great credit for its halftime adjustments, as the Mountaineers have recorded more combined points and yards in the second half than it has the first this year. However, WVU doesn't have the market cornered in that category in this contest.
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Since ECU defensive coordinator Greg Hudson arrived in 2005, the Pirates have allowed just 4.0 points per third quarter (109 total third quarter points allowed in 27 games). The Pirates have continued that trend in 2007, having already posted two third-quarter shutouts against Virginia Tech and Southern Miss. ECU did give up two third-quarter touchdowns to North Carolina, but rebounded to shut out the Tar Heels in the fourth quarter.

The Pirates will face their toughest challenge to date in WVU's offense, which has rolled up 93 second half points this year. If the game holds true to the pattern of the past couple of years, the third quarter could be the most critical period of the game.


Could this be the week that freshman Pat Lazear sees more time? While Marc Magro certainly isn't going to yield his starting position, look for the Maryland native to get some time at the strong side linebacker position this week. West Virginia needs active and aggressive play from its linebacking corps, and while it got a great deal of that in the Maryland game, Lazear could provide a boost in both departments.


East Carolina's guide does a good job of promoting the school its location as a desirable place to spend a college career. Like Morgantown, Greenville isn't the biggest college town in the world, but ECU's guide promotes the college feel of the place through a series of photos and writeups.

On the inside front cover, ECU publicizes the teams that visit Dowdy-Ficklen stadium over the next few years. WVU is included on that list, as is South Carolina, which is scheduled for a 2015 trip. The idea of hyping the opponents, rather than promoting the idea of coming to see the home team play, isn't the best path for a building program.

One negative note: The Pirates might want to rethink including Vince and Linda McMahon, the longtime operators of World Wrestling Entertainment, on its page of Notable Alumni. The specter of steroid involvement which looms large over that organization might not be the picture East Carolina wants to portray.

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