"Stedman was just dead," Coach Dana Holgorsen said. "He was tired. You could see it two or three plays before that."
Then came this blur, the 220-pound guardian angel. It was Alston, who stood over Bailey and managed to field and filter everything that was happening during that frantic finish.
"Running backs are taught to go to the ball because you don't know what's going to happen," Alston said. "So I'm running down the field and I see him laying there on the ground."
Alston barked at Bailey, begged him to get up so Smith could spike the ball and the field goal team could get in the game. The defense was back and ready. The offense was taking its places and the offensive linemen were getting into their stances. The referee had the ball in his hand and soon enough he'd put it on the ground and signal to start the clock.
Those are all things Bailey would learn later on because he was oblivious on the field.
"I don't think he even realized what was going on," Alston said. "He was laying there holding his shoulder."
Alston then took matters into his own hands. With one teammate at his feet and the other nine lining up before the snap, Alston grabbed Bailey by his torso.
"I started dragging him back across the line," Alston said. "I tried to pick him up, but I couldn't."
Bailey snapped out of it, stood up and managed to line up at the end of the line and next to Alston.
"Everything's good, but then I look up and we're not even in the right spot," Alston said.
The clock was ticking and Smith was ready to take the snap. Alston and Bailey looked right and realized they were a yard in front of the ball. They hopped back and were in place when the ball was snapped and spiked with 3 seconds remaining.
Had Alston not rescued Bailey, the Mountaineers run out of time and go to overtime. Had Alston and Bailey not had the awareness in that chaos to realize they were offside, the ball is snapped and a penalty is called against WVU. The officials tick away the rest of the clock as a punishment and the game heads to overtime.
When the players and coaches talk about finding ways to win, what Alston did is no less important than Bailey's catch, the sacks against Pitt or Eain Smith's blocked field goal against Cincinnati.
"I was yelling at them, but you couldn't hear it. 'Get up,' only goes so far," Holgorsen said.
"Shawne's a smart player."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.