West Virginia lost a fifth straight game for the first time since 1986 on Saturday night and find themselves scrambling to become bowl eligible with just two more games left.
But step back from the dismal direction this season has gone in for just a minute and consider Tavon Austin’s performance Saturday night.
It is one that has to go down as one of the most remarkable performances by a single player in Mountaineer history.
Austin set a I-A division record this season with 572 all-purpose yards, including a West Virginia record 344 rushing yards and was four-yards shy of tying the all-time I-A record.
Breaking down the 572:
- 344 rushing yards
- 82 receiving yards
- 146 return yards
- 2 rushing TDs
Here are some highlights from Austin’s post-game interview, courtesy the sports information department:
On if he was excited to play the running back role rather than receiver:
Austin: “I had said a couple things to coach Holgorsen and the coaching staff about putting me back there a couple times. I didn’t think I was going to get it 21 times. I always told them that’s what I did in high school, and I still have it a little bit. Some games they give it to me a little bit in zone. That’s why I wanted to run it up the middle, and they gave me a chance. I’m just glad I was able to make a couple plays for them.”
On if after tonight’s performance there’s anything more he can do:
Austin:"Being in the backfield, it felt like I was back at Dunbar. But I have to give credit to the coaching staff, the offensive line, Geno making the right checks. I was able to make a couple people miss in open space."
On if his running back instincts kicked back in today
Austin: "It probably took me about two or three plays, but everything came back in how I would read blocks and it worked."
On if him at running back changed how Oklahoma’s defense covered him and if it caught them off guard
Austin: "Definitely, Oklahoma’s got a great defense, they play man to man across the board and the only person accounting for me was the safety one-on-one and I just had to beat him. Either he would make the play or I would make the play, over time I did beat him. I think it caught them off guard that there was more to me than the slot position. It almost won the game, but we just need to come back hard next weekend, and hopefully win in these next two weeks."
On if he’d go back and play running back for his career at WVU
Austin: "No, I think it would still play slot. Just for my reasoning only, for my dream to play in the NFL. I don’t think I would last in the NFL as a running back. If I do get that chance then I’d like to go in the backfield a couple times. But I wouldn’t change anything; I’d stay a slot receiver."