Freshman running back leads WVU to big win over Bowling Green
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. • West Virginia may have found its running back.
Freshman Dustin Garrison rushed for a school-record 233 in the first half as the Mountaineers rolled over Bowling Green, 55-10, on a rain-filled Saturday afternoon at Milan Puskar Stadium.
Garrison finished with 291 yards and two touchdowns. His rushing total is the tied for the second-highest, single-game rushing total in school history, and it`s the most since 2004, when Kay-Jay Harris ran for 337 against East Carolina.
Garrison earned the start this week after a strong performance last week against LSU. After fellow freshman Vernard Roberts struggled out of the gate, Garrison got his first carry on the final drive of the first half and finished with 10 rushes for 46 yards and a touchdown.
For the first four weeks of the season, the majority of the carries had been split between Roberts and Andrew Buie. Garrison had rushed for just 65 yards through the first four games.
Buie`s nagging injury and Roberts struggles to gain consistent yards gave Garrison an opportunity, and he`s run with it.
West Virginia averaged just 76.5 rushing yards per game entering the game, ranked No. 115 in the country, but finished with 363 yards against Bowling Green. With a potent running attack, West Virginia rolled up a school-record 646 yards of total offense.
The Mountaineers almost succumbed to another slow start. After forcing a fumble on the opening kickoff and notching a 30-yard Tyler Bitancurt field goal, Bowling Green rattled of 10 unanswered points in the next six minutes.
West Virginia rebounded scoring touchdowns on eight of its next nine drives. The only unsuccessful drive was ended by halftime.
West Virginia contained Bowling Green quarterback Matt Schilz. The redshirt sophomore entered the game as the nation`s No. 15 passer, averaging 292.25 yards per game. He finished with 114 yards.
More importantly, the Mountaineer defense got the turnover bug of its back. West Virginia intercepted Schilz three times and forced five total turnovers.
West Virginia hosts Connecticut next week to open Big East play.