Alston and Bailey's healthy return to the starting lineup coincides with Austin's surge as dual threat who Friday had 75 yards rushing and 99 yards receiving.
"More than anything, we're going to continue to come up with creative ways to get him the ball," Holgorsen said. "We got him the ball 20 times and a lot of it was in space and looked pretty good. We've got to keep giving it to him as many times as we can, but we can't line him up in the backfield and run him in there. Shawne can do that. He's a power back. Having them both back there is best."
That's the wrinkle Kansas must worry about most because it wasn't on film before Friday. Iowa State had problems figuring out what to do when Smith had Alston and Austin on either side of him in the backfield.
"It was definitely fun to see the defense kind of confused," Austin said. "They didn't know where we were lined up at. Sometimes Shawne would come in and they'd overset their defense on his side instead of playing a regular defense. We messed up their heads a little bit."
The defense was focused on Austin and making sure he didn't get into space on the perimeter. Alston's first carry was good for 10 yards through the middle. His next three carries went for 13, 7 and 15 yards.
"Tavon was sort of like a distraction," Alston said.
Alston was better suited for Iowa State's defense, which was going to play more compact than the Oklahoma defense. The Sooners created space and Austin was fast enough to speed through seams and then make people miss. The Cyclones congested those spaces and Alston was brutish enough to barrel through for yards.
"Having him back there makes us better," Holgorsen said.
Alston had 123 yards in the opener against Marshall, but just 88 in all the games after that. He had that by the first drive of the third quarter.
"I was getting better every week, but I was still constantly meeting with the training staff and the weight staff figuring out what we had to do that week and figuring out where the strength was at," Alston said. "Finally last Sunday, they told me everything was OK and it was strong enough to take the brace off and I didn't need it any more. That was a great relief."
Uninhibited by the brace, Alston ran hard, shed tackles and slowly tilted the attention Iowa State was giving Austin. After falling behind 24-23 in the fourth quarter, WVU thought it had the Iowa State defense set up for the touch pass from Smith to a motioning Austin.
It went for a 75-yard touchdown as Austin beat the defense to the outside and ran up the sideline away from everyone.
"It's amazing, really, to see a guy undersized and really underrated be the most dynamic player in college football with the ball in his hands," Smith said. "You see him constantly, week in and week out, give us the spark we need."