Published: Sunday, November 25, 2007
Led by Pat White, WVU corrals 10th
The No. 4 Mountaineers clinched the Big East title and a berth in the BCS.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) 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, that clinched 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.
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, gave up the most points the Huskies have permitted in seven years.
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 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's fourth straight 100-yard rushing effort should improve his status in the Heisman Trophy race. He has 1,144 yards this season, along with 1,498 yards passing. Slaton added 51 yards on the ground and now has 1,039 for the 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.
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 had three takeaways and turned 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 Darius 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.
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