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White, Slaton rule the "Backyard Brawl" again

Nov 17, 2006 - 4:12 AM PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- Once again, Pat White and Steve Slaton threw most of the punches in the "Backyard Brawl."

White and Slaton combined to rush for 435 yards and accounted for six touchdowns as eighth-ranked West Virginia posted a 45-27 victory over Pittsburgh in a battle of Big East Conference teams.

The campuses are separated by 79 miles and the annual rivalry is called the "Backyard Brawl." Last season as freshmen, White and Slaton combined for 399 rushing yards and four touchdowns in a 45-13 rout of the Panthers.

The dynamic duo was even better this time. White rushed for 220 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries and threw for 204 yards and two scores, both of them to Slaton.

"I've been coaching college football for a long time, and that's as good a performance as I've seen a quarterback play," West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez said.

Slaton became the first player in school history to record more than 100 yards rushing and 100 yards receiving in a single game. He produced 215 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries and caught six passes for 130 yards.

"We're a great combination," Slaton said of he and White. "We're just showing our talent."

West Virginia (9-1, 4-1 Big East) hosts South Florida on November 25 before a showdown against unbeaten Rutgers on December 2 in a possible showdown for the Big East's Bowl Championship Series berth.

The loss was the fourth in a row for Pittsburgh (6-5, 2-4), which went toe-to-toe with the Mountaineers in the first half when Tyler Palko threw for 264 yards and two touchdowns.

However in the second half, White and Slaton floored the Panthers. West Virginia rushed for 370 of its 437 yards in the second half, including touchdown runs of 64 and 19 yards by White and a 55-yard score by Slaton.

"Pat White is the best quarterback in college football and Steve Slaton does pretty much everything," Pittsburgh senior linebacker H.B. Blades said.

Slaton was held to seven yards on six carries in the first half, when he caught scoring passes of 11 and 67 yards from White. But he broke free for 208 yards on 17 carries in the second half.

"I was open coming out of the backfield (on pass routes)," Slaton said. "We wanted to get mismatches in the open field. "In the second half, I had a lot of room to run."

The Mountaineers totaled 641 yards and recorded eight sacks.

Pittsburgh was shut out in the second half after scoring on five of six possessions in the first half.

Palko threw scoring passes of 23 yards to freshman tight end Naye Byham and 15 yards to Oderick Turner. Conor Lee kicked field goals of 43 and 39 yards and Darrelle Revis scored on an electrifying 73-yard punt return for the Panthers.

Revis took off down the right sideline after a thunderous block by Derek Kinder and used two spin moves to elude three potential tacklers inside the West Virginia 25 before reaching the end zone. The touchdown snapped a 17-17 tie with 2:18 left in the half.

White hit Slaton with a 67-yard scoring pass to tie the game with 59 seconds remaining in the second quarter. But Pittsburgh closed the half with a 39-yard field goal by Lee.

"We were pretty pleased at halftime," Palko said. "We were feeling pretty good, but we couldn't execute in the second half."

White broke off a 64-yard touchdown run on the second play from scrimmage in the third quarter to give West Virginia the lead for good.

White scored on a 19-yard run with 5:03 left in the third quarter to increase the advantage to 38-27.

Slaton busted loose for a 55-yard touchdown run with 11:05 remaining in the fourth quarter to complete the scoring.

In two games against Pittsburgh, White has rushed for 440 yards and four touchdowns and passed for three scores. Slaton has rushed for 394 yards and four TDs and caught three scoring passes in his two against the Panthers.

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