The Times West Virginian

Mickey Furfari

January 10, 2012

FURFARI COLUMN - Austin’s return is great news for WVU

MORGANTOWN — I know a guy who couldn’t be happier that Tavon Austin has decided to return for his senior year of West Virginia University football.

The 5-foot-9, 176-pound junior from Baltimore, Md., is the most versatile, fastest major contributor among the Orange Bowl champion Mountaineers.

For starters, this magnificent young man of many moves in No. 1 in the nation in all-purpose yards with 2,574 yards. That averages out to 198 yards per game.

I certainly think that status, of itself, is worthy of an All-America first-team selection.

The breakdown of four different play phases is just as impressive.

Austin, who’s listed as an inside wide receiver, finished the 2011 season with 101 pass receptions for 1,106 yards and eight touchdowns.

His longest was 72 yards, and he averaged 11.7 yards per catch and 91.2 receiving yards per game.

As a rusher, Austin was called on just 16 times and amassed 182 yards (11.4 per carry) and scored a touchdown on an 80-yard gallop. Austin ranked third in rushing for the season.

He returned 18 punts for 268 yards (14.2 per punt) and returned 36 kickoffs for 928 yards (46.1 average) and two touchdowns (one for 100 yards).

In West Virginia’s 70-33 crushing of 15th ranked ACC champion Clemson, Austin’s four receiving touchdowns set a record for the BCS bowls. His 12 receptions in that blowout for 123 yards and the four scores tied a school record with Jock Sanders set in 2007.

Austin ranks sixth nationally in punt returns, eighth in receptions per game, 21st in kick returns and 24th in reception yards per game.

As you can see, these are a lot of reasons to be happy that Tavon Austin is coming back in 2012.

Quarterback Geno Smith, the Orange Bowl MVP, also will still be there to feed him the ball. He said he probably should give Austin that MVP trophy he got for his 401-yard passing bowl record.

Austin has said he’s coming back because he thinks he’ll be drafted higher for NFL play a year hence. He also likes WVU’s prospects for another highly successful season in 2012.

Geno Smith obviously has similar sentiments for staying the course.

Dana Holgorsen will have nearly all of his offensive starters back in his second year as WVU’s head coach. But the defensive unit must be rebuilt for the most part, as it was in 2011.

Text Only
Mickey Furfari
  • FURFARI COLUMN- Most plays good, some not so good in Gold-Blue scrimmage

    There appeared to be a fine mixture of plays, most good with some not so good, in last Saturday’s West Virginia University’s Gold-Blue football scrimmage.

    April 15, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Blaney wins 100th Sprint Car race

    Stringing together some odds and ends that may be of interest to you:
    • Dale Blaney, the all-time great West Virginia University basketball star, has achieved another historic notch in his athletic career as a Sprint Car racer. He posted his 100th career riding in the All-Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car Series at Attica Raceway Park in Ohio last weekend.

    April 12, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN- What a wonderful evening with Dr. Stanley ‘Coach’ Kandzari

    This column really is not about sports, per se. But, more importantly, it is about a widely known medical doctor whose nickname happens to be “Coach.”

    April 8, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Turnbull endured many tragedies growing up

    Coach Craig Turnbull, the latest head-coach victim of Oliver Luck’s shocking series of firings at West Virginia University, had generally enjoyed what many rate as an outstanding career not only in athletics but in life.
    Like the present, there also were some very difficult times for him as a youngster.

    April 6, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: All-time WVU great QB Bernie Galiffa dies at 63

    It was very sad to learn that Bernie Galiffa, one of the most outstanding quarterbacks in West Virginia University football history, had passed away.
    The three-year letterman for famed coach Bobby Bowden died last Thursday in Wilmington, N.C., at the age of 63.

    April 4, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Is $106 million in facilities updates really key to WVU sports success?

    You may have heard or read that West Virginia University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is planning to spend $106 million for major projects.
    According to published reports, that is to improve athletic facilities, including Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium and the WVU Coliseum (yet to be named for a rich donor).

    April 2, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Who’s next on Oliver Luck’s hatchet list?

    Who’s going to be next on Oliver Luck’s sad house-cleaning list as West Virginia University’s athletic director?
    Craig Turnbull, the outstanding head coach and builder of the Mountaineers’ wrestling program for 36 years, was notified on Friday afternoon that Luck shockingly announced that his contract will not be renewed on June 30 for next year.

    March 30, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Herbie Brooks one of Catlett’s early standouts at WVU

    Herbie Brooks, a native of Beckley, was an All-Stater at Mullens High School and demonstrated his talents at West Virginia University from 1984-89 in men’s basketball.
    The 6-foot-2, 185-pound guard performed admirably under coach Gale Catlett’s direction.

    March 29, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: WVU women’s team certainly has been special

    There’s lingering heartbreak in the wake of last Tuesday night’s 76-67 loss to LSU that ended the West Virginia University’s women’s basketball hopes to keep alive in the NCAA Tournament.
    The Mountaineers, seeded No. 2 and ranked as high as No. 5 nationally earlier this season, battled the seventh-seeded, home-standing Tigers toe-to-toe on even terms for 35 minutes on LSU’s own Pete Maravich Assembly Center floor.

    March 28, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN- Sonny Moran recalls WVU basketball’s ‘greatest tragedy’

    Sonny Moran, undoubtedly the unluckiest head coach in West Virginia University men’s basketball history, resides at the age of 88 in Alabama.

    March 26, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads