Buie’s big game on ground surprised No. 15 Longhorns
Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 00:10
As the Texas defense prepared for West Virginia last week, they didn’t expect to see WVU sophomore running back Andrew Buie have the impact he did.
After picking up 226 yards through the first four games of the season, Buie carried the ball 31 times for a career-high 207 yards and a pair of scores, including the game-clinching plunge from five yards out with less than two minutes to play.
"Going into the game, that wasn’t their strength," said Texas senior safety Kenny Vaccaro. "They have two great receivers and a great passing quarterback. The run was supposed to be eliminated, and it’s disappointing to see that.
"The run game basically saved them. It made them two-dimensional."
Finding that two-dimensional balance offensively has been difficult for the Mountaineers in the past two games before Saturday since senior running back Shawne Alston has been sidelined with a thigh bruise.
But coming into Saturday’s game, head coach Dana Holgorsen said they had made establishing the run game early and often a priority against a talented Texas pass rush.
"There weren’t any tricks," Holgorsen said. "We just lined up and ran it right at them. Texas is tremendous on third down defense. I’m proud of Buie, and I can’t say enough about the
offensive line as well. They did a great job of
digging their fingers in the ground and coming off the ball."
After carrying the ball just 51 times as a freshman, Buie has carried the ball 56 times in the Mountaineers’ last two games.
His 31 carries last week came as a little bit of a surprise, but Buie said you never know what to expect with Holgorsen.
"With Coach Holgorsen, you never know what the game plan is going to be fully," Buie said. "You just always want to be prepared to run from whatever he’s put in the menu for that week. When he calls your number, obviously he has the confidence in you to make plays."
Buie also got the honor of carrying most of the load in the game’s final minutes as West Virginia tried to drain the clock and added a score to extend its lead to 10 points.
On the Mountaineers’ final drive of the game, the sophomore carried the ball seven times and picked up 63 yards in the process.
"We did a great job of (killing the clock)," Holgorsen said. "When we’re winning by a lot, it’s not something you have to do, but we had to do it a little bit against Maryland, and last week we had to kill the last three and a half minutes."
But even when they were trying to kill the clock on that last drive, Holgorsen found a way for the Mountaineers to make plays through the air as a way to keep the Texas defense on its toes.
"We had to get first downs. That’s our four-minute offense," he said. "We knew they were going to bring that safety down and junk up the box, and if we just ran it into that, we were going to punt pretty quick.
"We knew we had to throw it a couple of times to get the first downs and stay on the field."
The 5-foot-9, 187-pound Buie was named the Big 12’s Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Longhorns.
But he was quick to deflect most of the credit for the big game away from himself.
"The offensive line did everything for me," he said. "They did all the hard work opening up the creases, and all I had to do was just run and trust it. That’s all I had to do."
If the Mountaineers are able to continue getting the same type of balance between the running game and the passing game, Buie said there’s no telling what they are going to be able to do this year.
"I always felt like we are our biggest enemy, our biggest opponent," Buie said. "As long as we continue to play together on all three sides of the ball, I feel like we have a pretty good chance of going all the way this year."