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Slaton has big game to spark No. 5 WVU past Marshall, 42-10



Published: Sat, September 2, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



The sophomore picked up where he left off last season for the Mountaineers.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -- Steve Slaton's sophomore season started the same way he ended last year -- with a big performance.

Slaton ran for 203 yards and scored two touchdowns to lead No. 5 West Virginia past Marshall 42-10 Saturday.

Slaton, the nation's top freshman in 2005 with 19 rushing TDs, had his second straight 200-yard game. He set a Sugar Bowl record with a career-high 204 yards in a win over Georgia in January.

Slaton was the backbone of the nation's fourth-best rushing attack last season and he tore up Marshall (0-1) in just the second meeting between the state's two Division I-A schools since 1923.

"The line and I had a good game plan coming in and we just executed," Slaton said. "I have been here a year and now know better what the coaches want. I make reads better and I recognize defensive schemes and what they are trying to do to stop me."

Special white jersey

During preseason practices, coach Rich Rodriguez protected Slaton, who wore a special white jersey with red numerals that limited contact on him.

Rodriguez let him loose Saturday. Slaton's 33 carries were one shy of a career high.

"I think I can sustain that for 12 games," Slaton said. "I feel good."

Rodriguez didn't realize that Slaton had 21 first-half carries until he heard an announcement over the stadium's public-address system.

"That's an awful lot of pounding on a guy," Rodriguez said. "We've got to be conscious of that."

West Virginia (1-0), which is 6-0 all-time against Marshall, scored on four of its first five possessions and totaled 312 rushing yards.

"I'm very surprised that they could run the ball on the defense like they did," Marshall coach Mark Snyder said. "I don't see any positives with this game because there's a lot of work to do. We need to work on everything."

140 yards by halftime

Slaton surpassed 100 yards early in the second quarter and had 140 by halftime.

He had a 14-yard TD run around right end midway through the first quarter and scored untouched from 16 yards out after making a hard cut to the right late in the half for a 28-7 lead.

Slaton also had a 10-yard TD run negated by a holding penalty in the second quarter.

West Virginia, whose ranking was its highest to start a season, opened its normally quiet passing game a bit, too. Pat White completed 10-of-14 passes for 168 yards.

He found Brandon Myles with first-half TD tosses of 8 and 18 yards as West Virginia built a 21-0 lead. It was the first career multiple TD game for Myles, a senior.

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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