By Mickey Furfari
For The Register-Herald
Andrew Buie, West Virginia’s top running back, hopes to be productive in Saturday night’s Big 12 football game against Oklahoma’s run defense.
The 5-foot-9, 188-pound sophomore from Jacksonville, Fla., has rushed 140 times for 646 yards and five touchdowns this season. He ranks sixth among Big 12 rushers with 71.8 yards per game.
Buie is No. 7 in the league in all-purpose yards (105.3 average per outing).
In studying film of Oklahoma’s run defense, Buie said he had seen that “the safeties come down and pretty much play the box. And you have to make them miss.
“Like every other team we’ve seen, they rely on their safeties to come up and make a lot of plays in the run game.”
Buie, who has played in 19 games and started eight, said “I feel good now. I feel fine (despite more carries). That was a big thing for me during the offseason, getting my body to the point where I could last for a whole season.
“I feel like I’m holding up pretty well right now. I do more stretching and get into the cold tub more often this year to keep taking care and treating my body.”
West Virginia (5-4, 2-4 Big 12) will be trying to snap a four-game losing streak against Oklahoma (7-2, 5-1). The kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Asked about the Mountaineers’ moral, Buie responded: “The guys that are here are guys that want to be here. We just need to keep pushing and keep going forward. We’re not quitters.
“We just want to keep working hard and hope for the best.”
WVU junior linebacker Doug Rigg is from Oradell, N.J. But he said he grew up watching Oklahoma all the time.
“They’re a great team,” he said. “It could really turn our season around if we get a win against a top team in Morgantown and boost the team.
“Not many people on this team have gone through a four-game losing streak. Just getting a win, especially against a great team, will help our confidence a lot and propel us to win these last games of the season.”
Rigg said going back to the basics is responsible for the defense’s improvement.
Jarod Barber, a sophomore linebacker, thinks the Mountaineers need to win all three games remaining on the schedule.
He said, “It’s a big test coming in. But I think if we work hard, play hard and just fly around out there on all three sides of the ball we can be pretty hard to beat.”
Barber believes the defensive unit now is capable of stopping other teams.