Sunday, November 25, 2007

White leads No. 4 West Virginia to 66-21 win over No. 20 UConn

AP Sports Writer

Pat White has No. 4 West Virginia on the brink of playing for a national championship.

White rushed for 186 yards and accounted for three touchdowns to lead the Mountaineers to a 66-21 win over No. 20 Connecticut on Saturday night, clinching the Big East championship and a spot in the Bowl Championship Series.

With one more win next week against Pittsburgh, the Mountaineers might be headed to the biggest BCS game of all - the championship game on Jan. 7 in New Orleans.

West Virginia (10-1, 5-1 Big East) will move up at least one spot to second in the BCS standings on Sunday following top-ranked LSU's loss to Arkansas on Friday.

West Virginia has won six straight since losing to South Florida on Sept. 28 and has made a steady climb in the BCS standings after starting ninth in mid-October.

Connecticut's dreams of a BCS berth in only its fourth season in the conference were dashed in a big way. The Huskies (9-3, 5-2) allowed the most points since it gave up 66 to Middle Tennessee in 2000, when UConn was a member of the former Division I-AA, now the Football Championship Subdivision.

UConn was limited to one second-half touchdown and a defense that was ranked third in the nation in points allowed coming in at 14 per game was torn apart.

The Mountaineers compiled a season-high 517 yards on the ground. Freshman Noel Devine rushed for 118 yards on 11 carries. Steve Slaton had a pair of TD runs, which were set up by long runs by White.

West Virginia claimed at least a share of its fourth Big East title in five seasons and will make its second BCS trip in three years. The Mountaineers beat Georgia in the Sugar Bowl following the 2005 season.

White and Slaton became only the third pair of teammates in the Football Bowl Subdivision to surpass 1,000 yards rushing in consecutive seasons, matching Arkansas' Darren McFadden and Felix Jones this year and Minnesota's Marion Barber III and Laurence Maroney in 2003-04. Barber and teammate Gary Russell each surpassed 1,000 yards in 2005.

White's fourth straight 100-yard rushing effort could improve his status in the wide-open Heisman Trophy race. He has 1,144 yards this season, along with 1,498 passing yards. Slaton was limited to 51 yards and now has 1,039 for the season.

White had a 3-yard TD run in the first quarter and made several defenders miss when he reversed direction and scored on a 24-yard run in the third quarter for a 31-14 lead.

Connecticut had the fewest turnovers in the Big East but West Virginia turned three of them into touchdowns.

Jasper Howard fumbled a punt midway through the first and West Virginia's Ryan Mundy recovered at the Connecticut 14. White found Reynaud in the end zone on first down for a 14-7 lead.

Mortty Ivy stripped the ball from quarterback Tyler Lorenzen late in the first half and Scooter Berry recovered for West Virginia. White's 29-yard scramble on third down set up Slaton's 31-yard TD run for a 24-7 lead.

A snap bounced off Lorenzen's left shoulder late in the third and West Virginia linebacker Reed Williams recovered the fumble in the end zone to put the Mountaineers ahead 45-14 lead.

Lorenzen completed 14 of 28 passes for 151 yards and one score.

Source:; Photo Credit: WVU Sports Communication