West Virginia found what it’s been looking for all season today in Morgantown, the running game. WVU true freshmen Dustin Garrison was used early and often in a 55-10 blowout win over Bowling Green at Milan Puskar Stadium. Garrison introduced himself to the nation gaining 291 yards on the ground and 2 touchdowns.
The 55 points scored is the second time this year the Mountaineers have eclipsed the 50 point mark in a game, and the WVU offense finished the game with a season high 643 total yards.
“It’s a work in progress,” West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said of his offense. “A lot of people get aggravated with me saying that, a lot of people want instant results, but the reality of it is it takes snaps to be good at it.”
Garrison set a single game school record for freshman runners and producing the second best single game performance in school history, matching Kerry Marbury’s 291 yards against Temple in 1971.
“If you look at 16 games on his high school film last year, it’s like that,” said Holgorsen. “He’s used to 200-yard games. The more you give it to him and the more he plays, the better he gets.”
You have to credit the offensive line once again for their pass protection, blocking, and overall improvement since the season opener. The line came out and established things early, and never looked back.
Shawne Alston, who has been fighting a nagging injury early on, had his most productive game of the season. He added 49 yards on 8 carries, with 2 touchdowns.
“We’re getting better at it,” Holgorsen said. “We’re targeting better and finishing blocks better.”
For quarterback Geno Smith, it was another day at the office. Smith was 18 of 30 for 238 yards, and 3 touchdowns. He hit 8 different receivers, and Ryan Nehlen, Brad Starks, and Ivan McCartney caught touchdowns from the Mountaineer signal caller.
Stedman Bailey added 112 yards on 8 receptions, while Tavon Austin caught 4 for 67 yards.
The Mountaineer defense stepped up today and forced 3 turnovers. Keith Tandy returned to last season form recording 2 interceptions. Terence Garvin joined the party with an interception, his second of the season.
“It should have been three,” said Holgorsen of Tandy’s two-pick performance. “It was a matter of time with him. He’s done that a lot. We haven’t been getting it for whatever reason and he made two plays and should’ve had three picks.”
The lone bright spot for Bowling Green was special teams, where the Mountaineers clearly need work. The staff continues to stub in starters every week, but problems remain. Bowling Green netted 258 return yards.
West Virginia (4-1) opens Big East play next Saturday against Connecticut, which dropped to 2-3 after suffering a 38-31 loss to Western Michigan today.