Austin Displays His Talent on College Football's Biggest Stage - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Austin Displays His Talent on College Football's Biggest Stage

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WVU receiver Tavon Austin returns a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown in the Mountaineers opening-season victory over Marshall. WVU receiver Tavon Austin returns a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown in the Mountaineers opening-season victory over Marshall.
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MORGANTOWN -

If any fan watching Saturday evening's showdown with LSU wasn't familiar with Tavon Austin, they are now.

Austin had another huge game for the Mountaineers in their 47-21 loss to No.1 LSU, snatching 11 balls for 187 yards through the air, including a long of 72 on a perfectly thrown pass by quarterback Geno Smith.

His speed, quickness and elusiveness after the catch were on display this weekend in front of a primetime national audience on ABC.

And he did this against arguably the best secondary in the nation.  Last week, junior cornerback Morris Claiborne, who made multiple pre-season All-American lists before the season, claimed the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week honors for his performance against Mississippi State. 

This week, it was more of the same from the LSU cornerback.  Claiborne, showing off his athletic ability, returned a kickoff return 99 yards for a touchdown in what proved to be the game-changing moment for the Tigers.

But it was the play of teammate Tyrann Mathieu, a sophomore cornerback and one of the most dynamic players in the country, which grabbed the headlines after the game Saturday.  Mathieu finished the contest with five solo tackles, one interception (returned to the 1 yard line), one pass breakup and one forced fumble which he also recovered.  This jaw-dropping performance led to Mathieu claiming the award his teammate Claiborne notched the week before.

And considering all of that, Austin proved he was as skilled as anybody on the field Saturday night as he routinely made play after play against that secondary. 

However, like any great player, Austin wasn't focusing after the game on what he did well, but rather the mistakes he made that he can fix for the future.

"I did good for us with the plays that I made but at the same time, like I said, it started off with me", said Austin.  "I had the second turnover of the game and they scored off of that one, so I'm one of the leaders and I got to step up and take the blame."

While Austin did have a couple of critical drops, the plays that he made spoke far more to his overall performance this weekend.  Austin and Smith spearheaded an offense that accounted for 533 yards, almost 200 more than the Tigers.

Making plays is nothing new to Austin, though.  The week before, Austin racked up 243 all-purpose yards, 122 of which came on 11 catches.  Three Mountaineer receivers each had over 100 yards receiving in WVU's 37-31 road victory at Maryland.

In the season-opening contest versus Marshall, Austin returned a kickoff 100 yards for a score in what proved to be the game-changer of the Mountaineers 34-13 lightning-shortened win.

A week later, the 5'9" 176-pound athlete was at it again.  Austin reeled in a 45-yard touchdown reception and broke off a 64-yard punt return in WVU's 55-12 beatdown of Norfolk State.

Through four games this season, Austin has accounted for 423 yards receiving on 31 catches, resulting in an average of 13.6 yards per catch.  That figure places him first in the country for receivers who have more than 30 catches and further speaks to his big play ability on the field.

As the team's starting punt and kick returner, Austin has also combined for almost 500 yards and a score.  All in all, the Baltimore native has totaled 913 all-purpose yards, which ranks second in the country, and on average is accounting for 228 yards of offense per game.

The numbers speak for themselves.  Austin has become one of college football's greatest home-run threats, and after his latest performance, the entire nation knows it too.

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