West Virginia University’s undefeated, fifth-ranked Mountaineers defeated the East Carolina Pirates, 48-7, Saturday.

The Mountaineers ….

BULLETIN! BULLETIN! BULLETIN!

We interrupt this column to bring you this breaking news story.

Gov. Joe Manchin III has issued an order that all West Virginians forget about the East Carolina game.

“While WVU’s victory over East Carolina was as near to perfection as the Mountaineers have been in the past few years, it is as old as yesterday’s news, and I am issuing an executive order that all West Virginia citizens – and even those who are not citizens but have come into the state to play for the university’s football team – forget that game as soon as Saturday night celebrations are over and begin preparing for an invasion of Florida for what has become the biggest football game of this season in Tampa against the University of South Florida.”

We now rejoin your column in progress.

… used an offense that was a thing of beauty, quarterback Patrick White spreading the ball all over the field as he completed 18 of 20 passes for 181 yards with two touchdowns. His coach, Rich Rodriguez, said his quarterback was “extraordinary.”

“I had a feeling he would play like this,” Rodriguez said, aware that a week earlier White was shaky against Maryland. “He was as sharp as he can be.”

In addition …

BULLETIN! BULLETIN! BULLETIN!

We interrupt this column to take you inside the West Virginia University football locker room, where the Mountaineers have just learned that South Florida has defeated North Carolina, 37-10, setting up a meeting of unbeatens next week in Tampa.

Coach Rich Rodriguez is just finishing up his post-game talk with his players.

“I’m sure you all know who’s next,” he says.

He doesn’t have to wait for a reply.

“South Florida!” a hundred-and-thirty or so voices say at once.

Rodriguez has to say nothing else. He knows the Bulls have his team’s attention.

We now rejoin your column in progress.

... the West Virginia running game, held to a combined 290 yards over the past two seasons by East Carolina, totally destroyed the Pirates. Eight rushers, led by All-American Steve Slaton with 110 yards, rushed for 397 yards.

What’s more, the blocking by WVU’s wide receivers was devastating, the biggest block coming from 6-foot-7 receiver Wes Lyons, who’s reputation is as being somewhat laid back, who laid down East Carolina’s safety Leon Best with a block that actually lifted him off his feet.

The block registered 4.3 on the Richter scale that is situated at an undisclosed site in Clay County while the roar of the crowd hit 140 decibels, the equivalent of the roar of a jet engine, when that block was made.

The block was such that after the game, Best walked up to him and said, “You got me.”

The two laughed about it, then shook hands.

But then …

BULLETIN! BULLETIN! BULLETIN!

We interrupt this column to take you back inside the WVU locker room. Many of the players have dressed and started out. Those who are left, however, have just learned the stunning news that Syracuse has upset Louisville, 38-35.

All of a sudden, the game that was thought to be the Mountaineers most important game of the season — the Louisville game — has lost much of its luster while this coming Friday night’s game against USF has been elevated to heights no one ever could believe it would reach.

Certainly, you don’t expect to see Michigan-Ohio State, USC-Notre Dame, Alabama-Auburn in mid-season and you don’t expect to see the conference title and the BCS bid, perhaps even a national championship date, on the line in September.

We have here Rich Rodriguez to address that.

“Most leagues usually set their conference play to build up toward the end but in the Big East nowadays — I’ve said it many times, the Big East is pretty good. There’s not a lot of easy games in the Big East Conference. I think the Big East Conference is as good as any conference. We get to go into a tough environment with our first one. We have to get ready.”

It will be recalled that last year, South Florida upset WVU at home, probably costing them a chance to go to the BCS. Vaughn Rivers, you remember what USF did to WVU last year, don’t you?

“We remind ourselves of all the time that they kept us out of the BCS and that they beat us at home. We owe them something.”

Thank you. We now rejoin your column in progress.

… receivers like Dorrell Jalloh and Tito Gonzalez and Jock Sanders also delivered tooth-rattling blocks.

So that’s it from here at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium. We’ll be reporting again next week from ... From ... Hey, who do the Mountaineers play next week, anyway?

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