He also caught four passes for 30 yards that night against the Wildcats and it seemed, at least temporarily, as if he might be on the right track. But then he carried the ball just 20 more times the rest of the season.
That still grates on him.
"The last maybe three games is when I started feeling a hundred percent,'' Garrison said. "But I still wasn't getting the amount of reps or playing time I wanted.''
That's understandable, though. Consider that those last three games were against Oklahoma, when Tavon Austin became the feature back and ran for a school-record 344 yards; at Iowa State in frigid temperatures when the bullish Alston was the back of choice; and Kansas, when the Mountaineers did whatever they wanted offensively and Buie ran for 100 yards.
The point is, by the end of the season West Virginia had already gotten used to playing without Garrison and had developed other options. It was just bad timing that Garrison found himself healthy and feeling good at precisely the point the team didn't really much need him.
That, however, might have been the best thing that could have happened in Garrison's recovery - not physically, but mentally.
Think of it this way: When Garrison was running for all those yards as a true freshman, it was as an underdog. He began the season third or fourth on the depth chart and had to compete like crazy just to get a chance to show what he could do. And after going through a season in which he was pushed into the background because of his knee and watched as others passed him by, he's really not in a much different position as he heads into 2013.
He's going to have to prove himself all over again, a detail made even more significant by the fact that he's now playing for a new running backs coach, JuJuan Seider, to whom he has to prove himself all over again.
So 15 months after that knee injury, Garrison is running without a brace and not even thinking about the cuts that were once natural to him and trying to make them so again. He's added 10 pounds to the 175 at which he played last season.
And instead of feeling like a new man, he's feeling like that old one again, the one who had to prove himself.
"I need to play like I did as a freshman, with a chip on my shoulder,'' Garrison said. "And with the way last season went, that shouldn't be hard. I can use that as motivation.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.