"We were more worried about the passing game," Coach Dave Clawson said.
WVU (4-1) entered the game averaging 2.7 yards per carry and 28 attempts per game. Garrison was third on the team in yards and carries behind Vernard Roberts (41 carries, 131 yards) and Andrew Buie (26 carries, 88 yards). In four games, the Mountaineers totaled 42, 102, 92 and 70 yards rushing. Smith had 1,471 yards and 182 attempts the first four games.
The Mountaineers knew where the opposing defense's focus would be after Smith's success against LSU and were just as aware the running game would have opportunities and had better make the most of them.
"It's big," Coach Dana Holgorsen said. "That's why even last week, when it was a challenge to run the ball against LSU, I thought we did a pretty good job at it. We were targeted right and got 4 or 5 yards a carry, but then we got down two or three touchdowns and had to throw it a little more, but we still mixed in the run because you've got to get them to play it honest. Even if you're not doing a good job getting yards, you've got to at least attempt to do it because you've got keep them honest."
WVU played a second straight game without Buie, who started two of the first three games this season, and didn't use Roberts until the fourth quarter. Garrison carried 12 times in the first quarter and gained 42 yards on his 16th to get over 100 yards in the second quarter. He carried 24 times in the first half. The Mountaineers ran the ball 26, 33, 31 and 21 times the first four games.
Garrison finished with 291 yards - 15 fewer than the team had entering the game. Smith was increasingly effective, though, as Garrison's success changed the defense and gave the receivers chances.
"We encouraged them to come down and stop the run and that's where a lot of big plays happen in the passing game," Holgorsen said. "It got to the point we were getting 1-on-1 stuff on the outside."
Garrison gained 22 yards on back-to-back carries in the first quarter to setup a 33-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Ivan McCartney. Smith added two more touchdown passes in the second quarter and had 183 yards by halftime as the Mountaineers led 38-10.
"That's what this offense is," running backs coach Robert Gillespie said. "Everyone kind of knows we're going to sling the ball around, but they've got to know we're going to take what the defense gives us. If everyone is rushing three and dropping everyone else, we're going to run the ball. (Saturday) was good for us because to show we can run the ball."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.