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Slaton, White lead West Virginia past Mississippi State

Oct 7, 2006 - 9:59 PM STARKVILLE, Mississippi (Ticker) -- West Virginia's Steve Slaton and Pat White found seams in Mississippi State's defense.

Slaton rushed for 185 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries and White ran for a pair of scores as fourth-ranked West Virginia posted a 42-14 victory over Mississippi State.

Fullback Owen Schmitt also ran for two TDs for the Mountaineers (5-0), who open Big East Conference play next week vs. Syracuse. They held a 314-56 advantage in rushing yards as they posted their 12th consecutive victory.

"Our guys did a good job on getting on their front seven," West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez said. "Their front seven was very active. They made a few plays on us but our guys did a very good job of holding the point. Steve, Owen and Pat are a very talented trio."

"We were somewhat overwhelmed by the speed they had, but I think that our kids played tough and gave them a battle," Bulldogs coach Sylvester Croom said.

Mississippi State (1-5) had a chance to get on the scoreboard first, but Adam Carlson was wide right on a 48-yard field goal just under 4 1/2 minutes into the contest. Five plays later, Schmitt scored on a five-yard run.

West Virginia opened a 14-0 lead on a six-yard run by White in the first minute of the second quarter before Mississippi State halved the deficit on a 40-yard pass from Omarr Conner to Tony Burks with just over a minute to go in the half.

Slaton's 10-yard TD run made it 21-7 with 10:22 to go in the third quarter, and any realistic shot of a comeback by the Bulldogs disappeared four minutes later when Conner exited the contest after suffering a groin pull.

West Virginia's Pat McAfee missed a 43-yard field goal late in the period, but White iced the contest with a weaving 46-yard TD scamper with 8:02 to play after Mountaineers linebacker Bobby Hathaway intercepted Michael Henig, Conner's backup.

White completed 6-of-9 passes for 92 yards and ran for 76 yards on 11 carries.

"Pat White understands the game of football as good as any quarterback I've ever had," Rodriguez said. "I'm talking about understanding the situation, where the first down is. People say we don't throw much. It's not because of Pat White. Pat White can make all the throws. He is a great competitor."

Conner went 10-of-19 for 135 yards before getting hurt. Henig went 7-of-15 for 115 yards but was intercepted twice.

"At the end of the game I sat Mike down, because I was not going to risk the chance of hurting our best remaining quarterback, especially since we do not know Omarr's situation yet."

The teams were meeting for the first time.

"We know what it takes to win," Henig said. "They really didn't stop our offense the entire game. We have to make plays consistently and go back to practice and continue to work."

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