MORGANTOWN — West Virginia University football notebook:

Steve Slaton, the speedy Mountaineer tailback, admittedly would love to reach the 1,000-yard rushing record.

With 838 yards in just eight games, the 5-foot-10, 180-pound rookie needs just 162 more. He has Saturday night’s regular-season finale at South Florida and a bowl game to turn the trick.

“Getting 1,000 yards would be a big milestone for my freshman year,” Slaton said. “But I just want to help this team win another game.

“We certainly earned the Big East championship. But we want to finish undefeated in the conference. I think we will, too.”

Slaton, who did not play in WVU’s first two games, has rushed for 13 touchdowns and caught passes for two others.

A homecoming crowd of about 35,000 is expected for the WVU-USF contest. Kickoff time Saturday is 7:30 p.m.

There will be no television.

The Mountaineers (9-1, 6-0) already have wrapped up the Big East championship. The Bulls (6-4, 4-2) must win to remain in second place.

Jay Henry, WVU middle linebacker, insists that pressure isn’t always a bad thing.

“We put pressure on ourselves just to go out there and perform well,” he said. “We feel we’ve got to win this game.

“As Coach Rod says, not many teams here have won 10 games in a season. That would be quite an accomplishment.”

Ironically, WVU is undefeated on the road (4-0) and USF is undefeated at home (4-0).

This will be the first-ever meeting between the schools. But it won’t be the last.

USF became a member of the Big East this year, along with Louisville and Cincinnati.

Senior offensive tackle Garin Justice will tell you that quarterback Pat White is getting better every week.

“I think he’s really getting into a good rhythm now,” he said. “He’s really grown up and mature for his age.”

What’s more, Justice can’t imagine any quarterback being better prepared. “He may not talk much to you guys, but he says what he needs to say when he’s on the field,” he said.

“More than anything, you can see his confidence building when he’s in the huddle. We’re not surprised. We saw what he could do in the spring.”

Tale of the tape:

WVU is averaging 31.9 points and 377.1 yards per game, USF 26.3 and 350.6. They’re 1-2 in the Big East in rushing, respectively, at 258.2 ypg and 215.1

Defensively, the two are even closer. The Mountaineers are allowing 16.6 points and 285.8 yards per game, the Bulls 17.2 and 303.7.

In the last four contests, WVU has outscored its opponents 174-70.

This will be only the second time in school history that WVU has played a regular-season football game in December.

The first one was a 13-0 loss at home to George Washington on Dec. 2, 1939.

South Florida has only to look back to 2004 for its last game in December.

The Bulls dropped a 43-14 decision to Pitt on Dec. 4 in another game, like this one, postponed from the original date because of a hurricane threat.

Slaton thinks speed is what makes USF impressive.

“Their big, fast line is the focal point of their defense. But speed is the main thing.”

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