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WVU plans more big-name games in Morgantown

Pastilong says it may be possible to add Penn State if NCAA approves 12-game schedule

by Joedy McCreary


(September 6) MORGANTOWN -- West Virginia University played what could be its "biggest ever" non-conference game Saturday night when the Mountaineers hosted No. 1 Ohio State at Mountaineer Field, WVU Athletic Director Ed Pastilong said.

But the Buckeyes are hardly the last high-profile non-conference team to visit Morgantown.

Notre Dame comes to Morgantown for a mid-October 2000 date, Pastilong said. The official date has yet to be announced.

The Irish's visit to WVU is a return game for last November's game in South Bend, Ind. Notre Dame won, 21-14.

Pastilong also left open the option of playing Penn State, should the NCAA approve a 12th game for teams. But the Nittany Lions would have to agree to a home-and-home series, he said.

"We'll have discussions with the staff, administration and Coach Nehlen," before doing so," Pastilong said.

"We'll ask, 'Do we want to approach a Penn State?'"

High-profile non-conference games do wonders for WVU, Pastilong said.

"It features our football program, and at the same time, our state, university and athletic department," Pastilong said.

"Down the line, it helps our recruiting and helps us maintain a high level of competition."

Next year, the Mountaineers open their season at Ericcson Stadium, home of the Carolina Panthers, against East Carolina.

· TEST TIME: Ohio State, it appeared, made it a point to test out three West Virginia defenders who were at other positions last year.

OSU's opening drive was primarily directed at linebackers Mark Plants and Barrett Green, plus safety Jerry Porter. The WVU trio was responsible for tackles on the Buckeyes' first seven plays from scrimmage. And Porter also dropped an easy interception in the end zone on Ohio State's opening drive.

· CLOSED CIRCUIT TV PROBLEMS: Fans waiting in concession lines missed plenty of game action -- even though they shouldn't have.

American Vending Company, headquartered in Clarksburg, paid more than $80,000 to install 36 television sets at various concession stands at Mountaineer Field, American representative Martin Shaffer said.

But problems discovered with TV cables at the stadium forced a rewiring of the press box to accommodate CBS-TV, which televised the game, Shaffer said. The CBS rewiring wasn't completed until 1 a.m. Saturday and Shaffer said there simply wasn't time for the concessionaires' cables.

"I've got 36 TVs and none of them are working," Shaffer said.

Shaffer said the televisions would be connected for the Sept. 19 Maryland game.

Mountaineer Field is the second collegiate on-campus stadium in the country to have televisions at the concession stands.

· BIG EATERS: About 12,000 hot dogs.

More than 68 tons of ice. Nearly 10,000 buckets of popcorn.

Between 30,000 and 50,000 soft drinks.

The menu for WVU's offensive linemen?

Not quite.

Rather, that's what Shaffer expects the Mountaineer Field concession stands to sell to hungry and thirsty spectators during Saturday's Ohio State game.

American has been affiliated with WVU since 1979. Since then, the University has about $5.5 million in commissions off concession sales, Shaffer said.

· MOVING ON: Shawn Foreman caught six passes to move into fourth place on the WVU career receptions list with 112.

He passed Steve Lewis and Darrell Miller, who both had 111. He trails David Saunders, who had seven receptions Saturday for 121 career catches.

The all-time leader is Rahsaan Vanterpool with 126.

· BIG NIGHT: Punter-placekicker Jay Taylor established a Mountaineer Field record with 410 punt yards on nine kicks.

The record had been held by Curt Carion. He had 394 yards against Penn State in 1980.

· TERRY: Senior return specialist Nate Terry passed Mike Logan for 6th in career kickoff return yardage. Terry had 71 return yards to give him 884 for his two-year career.

Logan finished with 869 from 1993 to 1996.