LUBBOCK, Texas - In West Virginia's first two Big 12 games, the Mountaineers' top running back has averaged 28 carries.
This is not the way it was supposed to be. Or who it was supposed to be.
West Virginia was supposed to rely on a stable of running backs. If anyone would be a workhorse it would be the one built like it - 5-foot-11, 238-pound Shawne Alston. Andrew Buie would fill in where needed and provide a pass-catching threat. Dustin Garrison would work his way back from knee surgery and eventually lend depth.
But with Alston on the shelf the last three weeks with a thigh bruise and Garrison still working his way back, Buie has become the man. And he's carried the ball like one.
In a 70-63 win over Baylor he carried 25 times and gained 82 yards. Then last week at Texas he was handed it 31 times and gained a game-changing 207 yards.
If No. 5 West Virginia (5-0, 2-0 Big 12) is to win at Texas Tech (4-1, 1-1) today (3:30 p.m. kickoff, ABC), he might have to do the same again.
"Well, it looks like it to me,'' coach Dana Holgorsen said. "The concern is the wear and tear.''
West Virginia has been here before, facing a shortage of running backs. Last season the Mountaineers began the season with five and every one of them either wore out or was injured at some point or, in the case of one (Vernard Roberts) left the team.