Player of the Week: Big 12

When we pass out this award, we sometimes do it to the guy who puts up the eye-popping stats you just can't ignore.

Other times, it's necessary to look the way of a player whose team quite simply wouldn't have won a tight game without his efforts late.

We're doing both this week.

There's no debating this: Running back Andrew Buie was the best player in the Big 12 this week. He put up the best numbers. He had the most impact on his team's chances, and he was at his best late in the game.

Buie carried the ball for 207 yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries. The 5-foot-9, 188-pounder isn't built like a bell cow back, but he's had to become one for West Virginia the past two weeks with Shawne Alston sidelined. Ten days ago, he had never carried the ball more than 15 times in a game.

He now has 56 carries total in his last two games.

Buie averaged 6.7 yards a touch and frustrated a Texas defense that knew he was coming for much of the night, especially on the final drive when he overpowered the Longhorns for 63 yards. He carried the ball seven times on the eight-play touchdown drive, capped by a five-yard score from Buie.

Texas knew it was coming. With a three-point deficit, all it needed was a stop to give its offense a great shot at winning the game.

Buie found the creases in his powerful offensive line and wouldn't allow it. West Virginia loses that game, and probably loses it handily without Buie. Geno Smith takes an even bigger beating than he already did on Saturday night. Coach Dana Holgorsen said Texas might have had 12 or 20 sacks if West Virginia couldn't run the ball, instead of the four WVU gave up on Saturday.

Buie made sure to help protect his quarterback by proving West Virginia could run the ball and making Texas' defense respect it.

For that, he takes home player of the week honors. In fact, he ran away with them.