MORGANTOWN - When Dustin Garrison and West Virginia's rushing attack finally broke through in a big way last week, it seemingly opened a whole new set of doors through which the Mountaineers can now game plan their offense.
No longer does coach Dana Holgorsen have to depend almost entirely on throwing the football to gain yards and score points. He can take a more balanced approach now that he apparently has more weapons at his disposal.
So when No. 16 West Virginia (4-1) hosts Connecticut (2-3) at noon Saturday in the Big East opener for both schools, things will change, right?
"It doesn't change how we game plan,'' Holgorsen said. "Every game we've gone into we've gone in with running plays we felt like were going to work - the best way to attack how they line up and what they like to do is by running these select plays.''
The point is, the running game was always in the game plan. The trouble was it didn't really work until last week.
When Garrison ran 32 times for 291 yards and the Mountaineers gained 360 yards on the ground in that 55-10 rout of Bowling Green, it was not something that was planned any more than it was planned against Marshall or Norfolk State, against Maryland or LSU.
"We go into every game looking at the same things,'' Holgorsen said. "But it's like I've said since the day I got here. If we do it and it looks like crap, we probably won't do it as much. But if we hand the ball off and we're fitting it up right and they're hitting the hole and making people miss, then he's probably going to carry 32 times.''
There is no question, though, that what West Virginia did last week with the ground game will alter some things, even if it is just the way opposing teams choose to defend the Mountaineers' offense.