for this game

West Virginia one win from national title game

Dec 1, 2007 - 11:30 AM Pittsburgh (4-7) at No. 2 West Virginia (10-1) 7:45 pm EST

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia (Ticker) -- If quarterback Pat White runs like he did in the last two games against Pittsburgh, there is a very good chance that West Virginia will be running off to the national championship game.

The second-ranked Mountaineers need only to beat Pittsburgh on Saturday in the 100th edition of the "Backyard Brawl" to earn a berth in the Bowl championship Series title game January 7 in New Orleans.

West Virginia took advantage of Louisiana State's loss to Arkansas to climb to No. 2 in the latest BCS standings - putting the Mountaineers in position to play for the national championship.

White has rushed for 220 yards in each of West Virginia's last two contests against Pittsburgh, both lopsided victories for the Mountaineers.

Still, West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez doesn't want his players to look ahead.

"We haven't played Pitt with more at stake," he said. "It's not only the 'Backyard Brawl,' but it's our seniors' last game. This week will be about focusing on the moment and the now. What's important right now is playing Pitt play-by-play."

White and running back Steve Slaton form the most potent backfield duo in the country, becoming only the third set of teammates in NCAA history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons.

Last week, the pair carried West Virginia to the Big East Conference title with a 66-21 drubbing of Connecticut. The Mountaineers wracked up 624 total yards, with a season-high 517 coming on the ground.

White has been nearly unstoppable on the ground of late, surpassing 100 yards in his last four games. Last week, he rushed for a season-high 186 yards on 16 carries and passed for 107 yards and another score.

West Virginia (10-1, 5-1 Big East) boasts the second-ranked rushing offense in the Football Bowl Subdivision, averaging 310 yards per game.

"Their speed is just so much different than what you're going to see at any other time during the year, particularly at quarterback," Pittsburgh coach Dave Wannstedt said of the Mountaineers. "The guy (White) is a great player for what they do."

While lacking the fanfare of the West Virginia duo, Pittsburgh (4-7, 2-4 Big East) features the country's top freshman running back in LeSean McCoy, who has rushed for 1,065 yards.

McCoy is just the third true freshman in Big East history to rush for 1,000 yards, joining Slaton and Rutgers' Ray Rice.

Pittsburgh leads the series, 59-37-3.