Alston said the surprise was external, but not internal.
"I think we opened some eyes to the people of the world," said the senior. "But those in our locker room, our coaches, knew what we were capable of."
"It's nice to have a guy like Shawne Alston, who's hard to tackle," Holgorsen said.
Yes, but it must be doubly nice to have a guy like Buie to back him up. With the No. 1 back from last year, Garrison, apparently headed for a redshirt because of injury, an effective reserve is crucial. (See Orange Bowl, Alston.)
And on Saturday, Buie likewise was impressive. He had 31 receiving yards. He had 80 rushing yards with a score. He averaged 13.3 yards per rush.
"He is a guy that plays reckless," Holgorsen said. "He plays so hard that sometimes I think he just closes his eyes and runs into people.
"He's becoming a better space guy. He's always been a try-hard effort guy. I probably should've given him the ball a little bit more."
Perhaps. Buie had his 80 yards on just six carries. But it's hard to complain when your team puts up 69 on an opponent. (Holgorsen, though, did just that in his postgame press conference, saying, "There's a whole bunch of things we have to work on." God bless coaches, eh?)
Buie was asked if he made a statement on Saturday.
"I guess a little," he said with a smile. "It felt good to get out there after a long summer. I felt we were a good one-two punch. We've just been practicing hard. We do have a chip on our shoulder because people downgrade our running game."
That's because last year, in the shortened game against Marshall, WVU had 42 rushing yards on 26 carries. Against Norfolk State, the Mountaineers had 102 on 33 carries. There was a 360-yard outburst against Bowling Green (on 46 carries), but also a 72-yard performance on 29 carries against Connecticut and a 70-yard performance against Syracuse. Against Cincinnati? Thirty-two yards on 32 carries.
WVU averaged 122.7 rushing yards per game last season. On Saturday, it had 331.
OK, so Marshall isn't Texas or Oklahoma. But now those Big 12 members have something else to study.
Which just could help WVU provide some more offensive strikes.
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, mitchvin...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.