POG: West Virginia - Rutgers

Steve Slaton

By the narrowest of margins, Steve Slaton and Mortty Ivy earn our players of the game designation in WVU's 31-3 pounding of Rutgers

Offensively, Slaton didn't have the best numbers on the field, but he turned in two huge plays to boost the Mountaineers on their way to the impressive road victory.

On West Virginia's second drive of the game, with the score 0-0, Slaton cut back on a stretch play and slashed his way down the right sideline before diving into the end zone to complete a 38-yard touchdown run. The play was pure Slaton, who juked a defender and outran the Rutgers defense to the far corner to give WVU an early lead.

Just as critical was Slaton's big run on a third-quarter screen pass. After Rutgers drove 56 yards on its first possession of the half, the Scarlet Knights appeared to be getting back into the game, despite a missed field gaol attempt that capped the drive. However, WVU responded by flipping a screen pass to Slaton, who rambled 51 yards behind key blocks from Ryan Stanchek, who took out defenders on two separate cuts to set up the play. The reception gave WVU a first down on the Rutgers 27-yard line, and when Slaton circled the end untouched for a score six plays later, West Virginia held a dominating 21-point lead.

Slaton finished with 73 yards rushing, but it was his lone pass reception that proved to be some of his biggest yards of the game.

Defensively, Mortty Ivy earned the nod with a standout performance. He had ten tackles (eight solo) including one in the backfield, and gobbled up a fumble as well. Ivy was instrumental in the gang-tackling strategy that West Virginia used against Ray Rice, who gained 143 yards but failed to rip off the big runs that characterize his second half performances.



Mortty Ivy
"Ray Rice was a great back," Ivy said. "He brought that fire with him," Ivy said. "But we got enough people to the ball that he wasn't getting anywhere after he made contact.

"It was really just limiting the big plays and big runs by him. We should have had a zero [on the scoreboard]. But we just kept fighting and holding the rope for the rest of the team."

WVU did give up 314 yards to the Scarlet Knights, but made two big plays to keep Rutgers out of the end zone, and limited it to just three points on a second quarter Jeremy Ito field goal

GAME BALLS

  • Patrick White obviously garners an offensive game ball, and could easily have been the player of the game. He had 22 carries for 156 yards and a score, and added 144 yards through the air on 10-16 passes. He picked up several key third downs on the afternoon, and made very good decisions in directing the Mountaineer offense.

  • Reed Williams was another standout in the linebacking corps, recroding 13 tackles despite leaving the field on many third down situations. Williams' coverage to the sideline, as well as his ability to stand up to Rutgers power running game and help keep Ray Rice from breaking loose for big gains, was key in WVU's containment of the Scarlet Knight offense. Williams may prove to be too valuable to take off the field when WVU's SWAT package comes in.

    Marc Magro was also a stalwart against Rice, racking up nine tackles and playing with his usual hard-nosed style. Williams, Magro and company held Rice to a long run of 15 yards, and also kept him out of the end zone -- the first time that has happened this year.

  • Ryan Mundy doesn't rack up man stats, but the senior has been a steadying influence on the Mountaineers secondary. "He's our quarterback out there," secondary coach Tony Gibson said after the contest. Mundy thwarted a Rutgers scoring effort by stripping the ball from Tiquan Underwood on a third down post pattern in the Mountaineer end zone. He ended the game with seven tackles and a fourth quarter interception that halted another Rutgers drive.

  • Owen Schimtt also draws a game ball for his latest Chuck Norris-like move, a hurdle of a Rutgers defender that had the Mountaineer fans in attendance giddy with delight. "We told him not to do that anymore, because the last time he did it he sprained his foot," head coach Rich Rodriguez said afterward.
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