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October 7, 2006

Steve Slaton rushes WVU past Miss. State

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STARKVILLE, Miss. -Steve Slaton ran for 185 yards, Pat White rushed for two touchdowns and the West Virginia defense made two interceptions deep in its own territory to give the Mountaineers a 42-14 victory over Mississippi State on Saturday.

Slaton helped No. 4 West Virginia extend the nation's second-longest win streak to 12 games and moved into fourth on the West Virginia all-time touchdown list with his 24th score in 15 career games.

The sophomore had nine runs of 10 yards or more to help the sloppy Mountaineers (5-0) overcome 11 penalties for 132 yards and a handful of big plays by the Bulldogs (1-5).

The Mountaineers, who have won 30 of their last 34 regular-season games, moved the ball with big leaps in the first quarter. They got plays of 26 and 37 yards on their first scoring drive and 26, 15 and 14 on their second.

Fullback Owen Schmitt capped the first with a 5-yard TD dive at 8:11, giving West Virginia a touchdown on its first drive in seven consecutive games.

White capped the Mountaineers' second drive with another 5-yard run to make it 14-0 with 14:12 remaining in the second quarter.

Mississippi State had no answer for West Virginia's blitz early in the game. But crucial penalties extended several Bulldogs drives and Omarr Conner got them moving late in the first half with a pair of long passes to Tony Burks.

A 45-yarder to Tony Burks pushed Mississippi State deep into West Virginia territory. A 40-yarder to Burks got the Bulldogs to the 2. But he fumbled into the end zone where Lance Long picked it up for the score at 1:01 to cut West Virginia's halftime lead to 14-7.

The Mountaineers opened the second half with a commitment to Slaton, who carried the ball five times and capped a 10-play scoring drive with a 10-yard touchdown that made it 21-7 with 10:22 left in the third quarter.

Conner was injured late in the third quarter and replaced by Michael Henig, the team's original starter before he broke his collarbone in the season opener. Henig directed two crisp drives but was picked off in the end zone by Eric Wicks and at the 10 by Bobby Hathaway.

After the second interception, White scored his second touchdown on a slithering 46-yard run that put the Mountaineers up 28-7 with 8:02 left. White rushed for 76 yards and passed for another 92 in the win.

The Bulldogs did manage a late score on a 1-yard dive by Anthony Dixon with 5:31 remaining in the game, but the Mountaineers answered with a long drive and Schmitt's second touchdown of the game from 5-yards out.

Ron Rivers capped the win with a 50-yard punt return for a TD with 1:07 left.

It was the eighth straight loss to a ranked team for the Bulldogs and their fourth straight home loss.

For more coverage of West Virginia, visit WVUSports.com; for more on Mississippi State, visit BulldogBlitz.com.



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