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Austin seeks encore performance after 527 total yards

November 22, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

Anyone else notice in Dana Holgorsen's offense, records don't just get broken, they get blown to smithereens?

This coach has kept the media relations staff up at night, trying to figure out when the last time someone did that, only to find out no one has ever done that.

Saturday night, he took the nation's leading receiver in terms of catches per game, and its active career leader in receptions, put him in the backfield and set him off on a 344-yard rushing effort, breaking an 8-year-old program record set by Kay-Jay Harris against an East Carolina team that was hemorrhaging rushing yards at the time.

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Austin did it against Oklahoma, a Top-20 defense with a bunch of NFL-type talent.

''You don't do that against the University of Oklahoma and their personnel,'' Iowa State coach Paul Rhodes said. ''He's a very, very special player.''

Austin's night of all-purpose yards was even more extreme.

With 572 yards, he not only blew past Garrett Ford's 37-year-old WVU record of 356, but he also buried the Big 12 record, set in 2000 by Texas' Hodges Mitchell with 375.

Even Holgorsen was taken aback by that one.

''I have never coached a guy with that kind of versatility,'' Holgorsen said.

''I have said from Day One, especially this year, that he is the most explosive player with the ball in his hands that I have ever seen.''

The single-season school leader in all-purpose yards (2,574 last season) came up 6 yards shy of the FBS APY record set by Utah State's Emmett White against New Mexico State in 2000. Austin also became the first player in Mountaineers history to score a touchdown four different ways in one season (receiving, rushing and on kick and punt returns).

This came one year after true freshman Dustin Garrison came out of nowhere to run for 291 yards against Bowling Green. At the time, Garrison tied Kerry Marbury for the second-best rushing performance in school history, set a school mark for most rushing yards in a half, and most in a game for a freshman.

There have been so many more records splattered in the 23 games Holgorsen has coached at WVU.

Before September, West Virginia's best game in terms of total yards had stood since 1923, when it piled up 674 against Washington & Lee.

The Mountaineers have eclipsed that twice this season, with a program-best 807 against Baylor, followed by 778 against Oklahoma last weekend.

Throw in the 655 yards they put on Marshall and three of the top four games in terms of total offense in program history have come during the last three months.

The passing and receiving records eclipsed in the last two seasons are just silly.

Did you know? ....

Of the nine 400-yard passing games in school history, Geno Smith owns six of them, including a program-best 656 against Baylor.

Passing records, frankly, weren't that tough to beat at WVU, but Smith has obliterated nearly all of them.

Smith has thrown for 300 yards 16 times. Prior to Holgorsen's arrival, every other WVU quarterback had done that a total of 25 times.

Smith also owns records for touchdowns thrown in a game (eight), breaking his own record of six he set in the Orange Bowl. With 35 touchdown passes this season, he's already shattered a school mark that he tied with Marc Bulger last season at 31.

The records set by receivers are fairly ridiculous, too.

In the Baylor game, not only did two Mountaineers receivers catch at least 200 yards worth of passes for the first time at WVU, but it was the first time any teammates had done it anywhere in the FBS since Texas Tech's Danny Amendola and Michael Crabtree did so in 2007.

Anyone wanna guess who was coaching at Texas Tech at the time?

All told, West Virginia, in its history, has had seven receivers catch 200 yards worth of passes in the game. Four have come under Holgorsen this season, including a program-best 303 by Stedman Bailey.

Speaking of Bailey, he has 20 touchdown receptions this season, including a single-game, program-best five against Baylor. The previous single-season mark was the 12 Bailey had last season, when he tied Tennessee Titan Darius Reynaud.

Austin and Bailey each have 12, 100-yard games during their careers. The previous mark, set by David Saunders, was nine. They are tied for the program record with 14 catches in a game, both during this season.

Prior to this season, the benchmark was 12, tied by Austin in the Orange Bowl after Jock Sanders set it against Auburn in 2009.

Austin set a single-season mark with 101 catches last season. No one else at WVU ever had more than 77 (Saunders and Shawn Foreman). Through 10 games, he already has 100 this season.

With 1,260 yards, Bailey is the fifth Mountaineer to finish with 1,000 or more yards receiving and the first to hit the 1,000-yard mark in back-to-back seasons

There are many more. Plus the team is setting similarly extreme records on the defensive side. When Holgorsen gets his hands on something, he doesn't rest at status quo. He obliterates marks that had stood for 89 years.

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