Big games overshadow team performance in Orange Bowl
Published: Monday, January 9, 2012
Updated: Monday, January 9, 2012 23:01
You don't have to grab a final statistics sheet from the Orange Bowl to know what happened.
West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith had seven touchdowns, wide receiver Tavon Austin had four and safety Darwin Cook shifted the game's momentum before tackling Obie, the Orange Bowl mascot, to celebrate a defensive touchdown of his own.
But, there were some key contributions from players that are getting slightly overlooked.
A modest Smith gave credit to some fellow teammates in the Sun Life Stadium locker room.
"Shawne Alston, Andrew Buie, they stepped up big. Those guys helped me out a lot with the run game," Smith said. "I can't say it was all on me, because I did the least amount of work."
As Smith alluded, Alston and Buie quieted their skeptics with great performances while filling in for the injured Dustin Garrison. They provided Smith and the offense with a second option.
"When you're balanced on offense, it keeps the defense guessing," Alston said. "When the run game is clicking, it just makes our offense more effective."
Offensive lineman Joe Madsen was pleased with the effort from the two running backs.
"They both just didn't stop running. They definitely held up their end of the bargain," Madsen said. "They came in for Garrison and stood up to everybody."
And, Madsen admits, he didn't expect anything less from the two.
"I knew they'd come in and do what they had to do," he said.
However, don't let the effective running from Buie and Alston overshadow the offensive line's best performance of the season.
Alston wasted no time to thank his offensive line for its performance.
"The run game always starts up front," Alston said. "I think the offensive line did a great job of blocking."
Alston's quarterback agrees.
"The offensive line did a great job of moving our guys off the ball," Smith said.
"They came out and played a great game," he said. "I commend those guys 110 percent. They did a great job picking up the blitz. They basically played a clean game," Smith said.
While Tavon Austin tied an Orange Bowl record for receiving touchdowns in a game, he admits that, despite the lack of credit, he had full confidence in his fellow players.
"They did get overlooked, but they definitely got the job done," Austin said.