WVU Football: Andrew Buie Has Earned Start Against Maryland

Michael WalkerAnalyst IISeptember 17, 2012

Photo credit: Dan Estel
Photo credit: Dan Estel

Andrew Buie has won round two of the starting running-back battle with Shawne Alston. Buie deserves to start against Maryland.

Why do I say Buie should start the next game over Alston? Alan Taylor of MetroNews reports Buie was named offensive player of the week for the JMU game.

Alston won the award last game against Marshall with an outstanding rushing display. Buie won this week with his overall performance.

Geno Smith completed 34 of 39 passes for 411 yards and five touchdowns against JMU. It could have been worse, but Geno likes to watch part of the game too. He watched the fourth quarter. He didn't win the weekly award.

Stedman Bailey had a school-record 13 catches for 173 yards and scored three touchdowns. But the coaches chose Buie's overall performance over Bailey's.

Maybe Smith, Bailey and Tavon Austin are exempt due to national recognition.

But the award was not a gift, or simply his turn. Buie earned it with his overall performance. And, in my opinion, he earned the right to start the next game.

Let's just compare Alston and Buie's performances:

Alston gained 62 yards on 14 carries for an average of 4.42 yards per carry. Alston also scored a touchdown on a 2-yard run and Geno was not sacked. He also did not fumble.

Not bad, but Alston did get caught in the end zone for a safety on a stretch play. The offensive line shares the blame for that. 

Alston also failed to gain a first down on consecutive short-yard carries, the second of which was on fourth down at midfield. That led to a JMU score. The offensive line shares the blame for that one too.

So what about Buie? He gained 31 yards on seven carries for an average of 4.42 yards per carry. That's exactly the same per-carry average as Alston. Buie did not score.

Buie did not allow a sack of Geno and he did not lose yardage. He was praised by the coaches for his downfield blocking on pass plays from the slot-receiver position.

So far, I call it a draw. However, Buie caught five passes for 90 yards. He averaged 18 yards per catch. None of his receptions resulted in a punt. He kept drives alive.

Two of his receptions were for 30 and 27 yards, part of a drive that led to a score with Tavon Austin catching a 7-yard pass in the end zone. Most of that drive was Buie.

First round of the running-back battle went to Alston, the second round to Buie. To me, that deserves a start. I can't wait to see who wins the third round against Maryland. What do you think?

Comments welcome and appreciated!