Run For The Records

Steve Slaton and Patrick White are on the cusp of setting or advancing upon numerous records entering the game at Syracuse. And with the Orange's inability to stop the run, the twosome could establish new marks.

A look at the numbers shows No. 12 West Virginia (4-1, 0-1 Big East) at No. 3 nationally in rushing offense (323 ypg) against a Syracuse defense that ranks 111th, allowing more than 230 yards per game. WVU is also 14th in scoring offense, at more than 40 points per game on average, and its 20 rushing scores are tops in the NCAA. Those are little more than base indicators, obviously. But if the Mountaineer backfield has another outing like it did at home versus SU (1-4, 1-0) last season, when it ran for five touchdowns and more than 450 yards, Slaton and White – should he play – could set new marks and/or move up in many rankings.

Slaton, tied for the WVU school record in rushing touchdowns with 42 for the past two games, will set the all-time mark with his next running score. Only Ira Errett Rodgers (1915-17, '19) and Avon Cobourne (1999-2002) have also rushed for 42, and both players took at least a full three years to accomplish the feat; Rodgers missed the 1918 season when football was cancelled and did not play as a freshman due to NCAA rules. The 42 Slaton scores have come in 25 games, when WVU is 22-3.

The junior is also the national leader in career touchdowns (47), active points per game (10.1), and second in rushing yards per game (122.4) and yards per carry (6.23) by a running back. He is tied with White and Amos Zereoue (1996-98) for first on the all-time school list with three 200-plus yard rushing games. If either White or Slaton run for 200 yards, they will obviously take over first place, and that major output could boost Slaton into first in rush yards per game and per carry. Slaton trails Rutgers tailback Ray Rice for second in the active NCAA career rushing list by 14 yards. He has 3,428, and so could easily jump the fellow Big East player. Slaton is also in second in active leaders in rush yards per game with 122.4 to Wisconsin's P.J. Hill, who averages 124.2. Also, Slaton has never failed to rush for at least 100 yards in consecutive games as a starter. He did not run for 100 in the loss at South Florida.

White, who broke his own records by rushing for 247 yards and four touchdowns on 15 carries (16.4 ypc) in WVU's 41-17 win over SU at home last year, is tied for seventh on the West Virginia all-time list of career 100-plus yard rushing games with 10. Quincy Wilson (1999-2003) also had 10, and the duo are just behind Robert Alexander (1977-80) and Robert Walker (1992-95), tied for fifth. Slaton's 19 100-yard rush games are two off Zereoue's 21. White does have 2,493 career rushing yards, and with 115 would tie Wilson's 2,608 for sixth all-time. With 156 yards, White would have 2,649 and be just behind Slaton in for fourth place, passing Walker (2,620) and Artie Owens (2,648, 1972-75).

White already leads West Virginia in all-time quarterback rushing yards (2,493) and is the Big East leader as well, edging out WVU's Rasheed Marshall, who ranks second. Based only on carries, White is the fastest back to 1,000 yards in Mountaineer history. Earlier this season, his 18 of 20 performance against East Carolina was the single-game record for completion percentage at WVU. He is also the single season (118-179, 2006, 65.9 percent) and career (244-380, 64.2 percent) leader in the category as well. His current pass efficiency rating of 159.80 is good for second all-time at WVU behind Jake Kelchner's 164.01 in 1993. White occupies two of the top three single season spots in that area all-time.

White is tied for eighth nationally in career touchdowns responsible for (58) and the Mountaineer offense is an incredible 61 of 65 under White in the red zone, with 38 TDs. He owns the top three rushing spots for a single game by a quarterback with 247 yards against Syracuse last year, and 220 versus Pitt in both 2005 and '06. He passed Chad Johnston for fifth on the WVU list of career offense last game. He now has 5,693 yards. Johnston (1993-96) tallied 5,664. White needs one career touchdown pass to break his tie with Darren Studstill (1990-93) with 27. Both Brad Lewis (1998-2001) and Bernie Galiffa (1970-72) have 28, and with two White would have 29 take the eighth spot behind Dan Kendra (1974-77), who has 31. Marc Bulger (1996-99) is the leader with 59.

Finally, head coach Rich Rodriguez can win his 100th game all-time in 162 tries, not all coming at West Virginia. He is 5-1 against Syracuse, losing just the first game in 2001 before piecing together the winning streak, which is the longest for WVU ever in the series. SU leads 30-24 in the second-longest series on the 2007 schedule (Pitt, 99 games). Rodriguez's 90th win came last year against Syracuse in the 41-17 home win. The Mountaineers can win their 250th October game all-time. They are 249-198-21 in the month. WVU is 12-8 under Rodriguez during the month, going 6-4 at home and on the road.

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