"Last week's game wasn't his type of game,'' coach Dana Holgorsen said.
No, last week was a Tavon Austin type of game. That's when he made his debut at tailback and ran for a school-record 344 yards. The Oklahoma defense set itself up for that one, emptying the box and giving the 5-foot-9, 174-pound Austin room to run.
Iowa State's defense was packed much tighter and so it was largely up to the 5-foot-11, 236-pound Alston to gain tough yards. He did, averaging 6.8 yards per carry.
Much of the time, though, Alston was running in open spaces. Part of that was because Iowa State's defense was so preoccupied with Austin. When he lined up in the slot or went in motion and didn't get the ball, he drew defenders out of the box.
Ultimately, though, it was probably a play on which Alston didn't get the ball that proved the most important of the day. After spending the entire game chasing Austin at the expense of allowing Alston to run free, the Cyclones paid attention to Alston.
It was the play on which Austin ran 75 yards with a little jet sweep pass to score the winning touchdown.
"He was sort of a distraction,'' Alston said of Austin, meaning Austin distracted ISU's defenders and opened up more running room. "But at the end of the game when he went for the touchdown, they went with me to the right.''
The game had its eye on West Virginia even as the Mountaineers' losing streak reached five games because of the appeal of its offense. The Holiday Bowl has the No. 5 pick from the Big 12 and the opponent is the No. 3 team from the Pac-12.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.