WVU Finds Workhorse in Dustin Garrison - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

WVU Finds Workhorse in Dustin Garrison


Dana Holgorsen grounded his aerial attack Saturday against Bowling Green. He had no choice, really. Dustin Garrison was just that good.

All week, the staff said Garrison wouldn't just be handed the job based on his strong performance against LSU. He'd have to work for it and he'd have to work to keep it.

He did just that, to the tune of 291 yards on 32 carries.

That's just 15 yards less than the Mountaineers had put up all season coming into the game. Had the game been in question in the second half, Garrison would have made a real run for Kay Jay Harris' record of 337.

Those in the crowd who had access to stats may have known how close he was, but on the field, a record was the last thing on his mind.

"Towards the end, they told me I was at 291 and Gillespie told me to get out and I was like, ‘You don't want me to get nine more yards?' He was like, ‘No, get to the sideline,'" Garrison laughs.

So, maybe reaching 300 yards rushing can be what Garrison uses as motivation when he takes the field in a week against UConn.

"It's just whatever it takes to win the game," he says. "If it takes 300 yards, then yeah."

He had just 13 carries coming into the game and 22 total touches. In one game, he blew those numbers out of the water.

Garrison wowed the crowd, but he'll be the first to tell you he couldn't have done it on his own. The offensive line has made tremendous strides in the first five games and created the holes Garrison was able to burst through.

"Everybody was doing their job," says Garrison. "The linemen were finishing blocks, receivers were downfield finishing blocks. That's what happens when everybody works together."

It seemed apparent in some of the earlier contests that Garrison was capable of putting together a strong performance if only he were given the opportunity. No one would have anticipated such big numbers, but he believes what he showed Saturday has been in him each of the first four games, as well.

"Coach Gillespie and Coach Holgorsen know what they're doing and it just takes a little bit of patience and everything will work out. In the end, it worked out today. I got my chance and I feel like I proved it."

In the postgame interview room, Garrison was given the podium. Other than Holgorsen himself, no one else had stood behind the podium to answer questions all year.

The sports information staff placed him there because they felt it would give the most room for reporters to swarm him with tons of questions and an eager microphone. He must have felt like he was back in his high school days when no star shone brighter than his own.

"It definitely did [feel like high school]," says Garrison. "The game has slowed down a lot since day one and I feel like it has shown. I'm seeing the holes a lot faster and I'm hitting the holes a lot faster."

Even Holgorsen couldn't deny that what he saw on the field Saturday was reminiscent of the sort of play that got WVU's attention in the first place.

"If you look at 16 games of his high school film last year, it looked just like that," says Holgorsen. "He's used to 200-yard games. I think he gets better the more you give it to him."

Regardless of what the numbers may have been or what the media and the fans will undoubtedly have to say about Garrison's performance, he knows the work is not done. The next week will be just like the last.
"It's just practice," he says. "I've just got to go out there with the same mentality I did the past few weeks, just working hard and trying to make plays and impressing Coach Holgorsen and Coach Gillespie."

It's safe to say he impressed a lot more than just those two on Saturday.

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