Tavon Austin Guides WVU in "Best Game" - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Tavon Austin Guides WVU in "Best Game"


Tavon Austin's grandmother is happy today.

The Maryland native entered his career with the Mountaineers with one simple demand from his Baltimore-based grandmother: Do not allow the Terrapins to beat you.

"She said, ‘Tavon, whatever you do, do not lose to Maryland,'" Austin said earlier this week. "They came into our house, they talked to my grandmother and they told her they were going to beat West Virginia, so she always used to tell me, ‘Tavon, don't lose to Maryland.'"

Saturday's 31-21 final marked WVU's seventh-straight win over the University of Maryland, and the third in three tries for the senior receiver.

This one may have been the sweetest of them all for Austin, as he left his mark all over the final stat sheet, finishing with 13 receptions for 179 yards and three touchdowns.

"This was Tavon's best game," WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen said. "He was the one guy that we had offensively that played their best game. I can't say that about the rest of them."

In the fourth quarter, Austin caught a 34-yard touchdown from Geno Smith. It was his third score of the day and pushed WVU to a 17-point lead.

While he sat on the bench, an announcement came over the public address system. He had just tied Jock Sanders for the top spot on the school's all-time receptions list.

It seemed like on each of those catches Saturday, Austin had his own celebration. Sometimes it was subtle, other times not so much, but it was the sort of energy that he carried with him to the sidelines and laid out for his teammates to feed off of when the Mountaineers needed a spark.

"His demeanor on the sideline was fantastic," Holgorsen said. "If things weren't going very good, he was the guy who was bouncing around trying to pick everybody up. That's what leaders do, that's what team captains do and he stepped up and played well in adversity."

More than half of Smith's output came from getting the ball in Austin's hands. He continues to prove that for the offense to find success, that's is the best place it can be.

With Maryland able to slow the WVU attack from the proficiency it showed in games one and two, Austin was the weapon that fought through the Terrapins' defense to keep the Mountaineers moving.
"We needed one of our guys to step up and have a big game," said Stedman Bailey, who finished with six receptions for 55 yards. "The run game couldn't get going, those guys did a good job containing me and Tavon stepped up to the plate today."

Jordan Thompson, the heir apparent of sorts at the slot receiver position in Holgorsen's offense, looks up to Austin. He has a similar style of play and a comparable frame and when he sees performances like the one Saturday on Mountaineer Field, he is inspired to do the same.

"He stepped up in key moments and made different plays," says Thompson. "That energy that he creates after he makes a big play definitely disperses throughout the whole team, so that got us up."

West Virginia offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson acknowledged after the game that not everything went smoothly as far as the game plan was concerned. His lone bright light when reflecting on the game was the man in the No. 1 jersey.

"Glad we had him today," Dawson said. "When things aren't going great, you look for your playmakers to make plays and he really did, so I'm proud of him."

Austin's grandmother is surely proud, too. He did precisely what she asked him when he signed with West Virginia over the home team.

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