Buie Beaten And Battered But Not Backing Down - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Buie Beaten And Battered But Not Backing Down

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MORGANTOWN -

The West Virginia University running game could use a little help. WVU ranks ninth in the Big 12 in rush yards per game in conference play and last in the conference for the entire season.

WVU has rushed for 717 yards through six conference games for an average of 119 yards per game. That is skewed by a 197 yard performance against Texas. In fact, West Virginia has not rushed for more than 100 yards as a team since October 13 at Texas Tech.

Part of the lack of success on the ground can be attributed to injuries in the backfield. Shawne Alston continues to recover from a deep thigh bruise that sidelined him for nearly six weeks. Dustin Garrison continues to get healthier following a torn ACL suffered roughly nine months ago.

That means the bulk of the carries are going to 5-foot-9, 188 pound Sophomore Andrew Buie. He has carried the ball 140 times, which is already nearly three times as many carries as he got through the entire 2011 season.

"He has played over 500 snaps," Running Backs Coach Robert Gillespie said. "The next closest guy has about 130 or 140. He also plays on a lot of special teams. That is where we are and he has done a good job with it. We try to keep him healthy at practice and spread him out and rest him when we can."

"Shawne (Alston) is hurt. It is not what people want to hear, but he is hurt," Head Coach Dana Holgorsen said. "That is why he is not playing. Dustin (Garrison) is still six months out from being where he was last year, which means we put it in the hands of Andrew Buie, who is averaging almost five yards a rush, but you give it to him 20 times a game, he is going to wear down. He is not that type of guy who can handle that many carries."

To his credit, Buie has handled the extra workload and remained healthy.

"I feel good," Buie stated. "That was the big thing for me in the offseason to get my body to a point where I could last a whole season. I feel like I am holding up pretty good right now, so I am fine."

Buie's best game was at Texas when he carried the ball 31 times for 207 yards and two touchdowns. He busted out his longest carry of the season in that game, which was 30 yards. That has been the biggest knock on Buie, the lack of a big run. Buie has failed to break off a 20-yard run in seven of West Virginia's nine games this season.

"He does some things, but what he hasn't done is give us a long run," Gillespie stated. "He is averaging about 4.7 yards per carry and that is middle of the pack in this conference. He just hasn't given us the long runs. He does a good job of getting the four and six yard runs, but hasn't had the make you miss that you want in a run game."

"I feel the same way," Buie said. "I need to make more big plays within the offense to help the offense out. I have to continue to work and prepare myself to be able to make those runs."

Buie will continue to be the featured back while Alston and Garrison try to contribute what they can.

Alston has played in each of the last two games and carried the ball a total of eight times for 16 yards and one touchdown in those two games.

"He's trying hard," Gillespie said. "What he brings to the game, he is just not able to do right now. He is a guy that has that extra leg drive to break those tackles and when he is healthy he can do that. When he is not, he doesn't bring that spark."

Garrison has racked up a total of 38 carries this season for 166 yards and one touchdown. He has only had 12 carries for 28 yards in the last two games.

"He is giving a lot of effort and trying to give what he can to get back," Gillespie said. "Obviously, he is not what he was last year. He is not what he is going to be after a spring of really being able to rehabilitate and get healthy."

There could be opportunities on the ground this week against Oklahoma. The Sooners are fifth in the conference in stopping the run. They allow 152 rush yards per game.

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