Watching West Virginia University’s Football Team play football during the first 10 minutes of Saturday’s game against Bowling Green was a little aggravating if you are a Mountaineer fan. Even more so if you were one of the 46,603 fans that sat in a cold steady rain at Milan Puskar Stadium. A shanked punt and a 77-yard kickoff return by the Falcons helped stake the visitors to an early 10-3 lead and had WVU fans muttering to themselves about the continued poor play of the West Virginia kicking game.
That is when the Mountaineers began to show why all the hoopla surrounded head Coach Dana Holgorsen’s offense when he arrive at WVU last winter.
West Virginia outscored Bowling Green 52-0 over the next 52:47 of the game to cruise to a 55-10 final score. The offense amassed a total of 643 yards in the process. There will be stiffer challenges ahead than Bowling Green, but one gets the impression that this team is just starting to get comfortable with this offense.
The best thing about Saturday’s 643-yard output is where the yards came from. Heading into Saturday’s contest West Virginia ranked among the bottom of Division 1 teams in rushing yards with a meager four game total of 306. On Saturday West Virginia erupted for 360 yards on the ground as true freshman Dustin Garrison stunned the appreciative crown with a record 291 yards in the game.
Garrison’s total eclipsed the freshman rushing record previously held by Pat White. The Pearland, Texas native fell short of Kay Jay Harris’ all time rushing record of 334 yards and tied Kerry Marbury for second place on the all time list. With the running game operating at a high level, quarterback Geno Smith had a relatively pedestrian 18 of 30, 238 yard passing day.
In spite of the running success Saturday, it would be prudent to wait a couple more games to suggest that West Virginia’s running game issues are solved. In any event, Garrison is the first of three true freshmen running backs to step forward. On Saturday the 5-8, 165 Garrison found holes made by what appeared to be an improved offensive line and the talented back knew what to do when he got to them.
Garrison’s performance will no doubt get him more opportunities to become the go to back, but one would suspect that Andrew Buie, considered by many to be the star of last year’s recruiting class, will get his chance to shine when he returns from a shoulder injury. On a related note, Holgorsen is using power back Shawne Alston more as the junior scored two touchdowns and had 49 yards on eight carries.
More fireworks could be in the offing this Saturday when the UCONN Huskies come calling for a noon game. The Huskies gave up 38 points and over 300 passing yards to Western Michigan at Storrs last Saturday.
As for any news regarding West Virginia having a new conference home in the near future, well there is no news, but the rumors haven’t quit. There was a meeting Sunday in Washington, DC of the remaining Big East presidents. The agenda included discussion on expansion and raising exit fees to deter any school from leaving the conference. It is thought that WVU president Jim Clements was opposed to that measure. That would indicate WVU is exploring other options.
On Monday night Twitter accounts were blowing up with news that West Virginia would soon become a member of the SEC. There have been rumors of such a move for weeks, but they have been given very little credibility by the mainstream media. Obviously Twitter is far from a good source, but the increased traffic on Monday suggesting that West Virginia will be changing its conference affiliation is a positive development for those who would prefer to see the Mountaineers out of the sinking Big East football conference. That is the latest on early Tuesday.