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WVU running attack finds a spark in victory

Garrison erupts for 291 yards as Mountaineers belt Falcons

October 3, 2011
By John Wickline - Staff Writer , The Inter-Mountain

MORGANTOWN - West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen cautions anyone who thinks the Mountaineers' running attack has finally arrived to think twice.

"I'm never going to feel like we've arrived," Holgorsen said during his Sunday evening teleconference. "About the time you think you've got things figured out, you're going to get humbled pretty quick."

WVU, 4-1, ran for 360 yards in the win over Bowling Green. True freshman running back Dustin Garrison accounted for 291 of those yards, the highest total ever for a freshman and the second highest total in school history.

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The Inter-Mountain photo by John Wickline
West Virginia University running back Dustin Garrison (29) credited the improvement of offensive linemen for his being able to run for 291 yards and two touchdowns in Saturday’s 55-10 victory over Bowling Green. His rushing total was the highest ever for a freshman running back in school history and was the second highest ever posted by a Mountaineer runner.

"Everybody was doing their job," Garrison said after the game. "The linemen were finishing their blocks, and the receivers were blocking upfield. That's what happens when everybody works together; plays are made."

Holgorsen said he thinks the Mountaineers "may have found a running back," but still said Shawne Alston ran the ball well, and Andrew Buie will find time in the backfield once he gets healthy.

"It's not like we are going to it over to Dustin and say, 'You're our guy' forever and ever," Holgorsen said.

Garrison, however, will look to get the bulk of the carries as the Mountaineers prepare for their Big East Conference opener at noon Saturday against Connecticut. The game will be televised on the Big East Conference Network.

"It's an important game," the coach said.

"Our guys will be motivated because they lost to them last year and didn't get to got to a BCS game because of it."

Holgorsen did express concern over the Mountaineers' ability to punt the football, though they only had to do it one time in the 55-10 victory.

Corey Smith's lone punt traveled a mere 14 yards, and he is averaging slightly better than 38 yards per attempt.

"Matt Molinari will get some reps to see if he can do it better than Corey," Holgorsen said.

Tyler Bitancurt, who normally only kicks fields and points-after-touchdowns, was used extensively at kicking off Saturday. Bitancurt, however, will not be looked upon to take on the punting chores.

"I have no issue whatsoever putting him on the kick-off team," Holgorsen said. "But the punt (leg) swing is completely different. We will not do that."



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