Monday, November 19, 2012
Player of the Week: Big 12
By David Ubben
These are usually reserved for players who helped win games on Saturday. Truth be told, I feel a little dirty even thinking about doing this.
I have to, though. My conscience won't let me do otherwise. Tavon Austin put together perhaps the greatest offensive performance we've ever seen in the Big 12.
Oklahoma had a legit case heading to Morgantown as the best defense in the Big 12. Austin, who played much of the game at running back for the first time, didn't seem to notice or care all that much.
He carried the ball 21 times and averaged well over 16 yards a touch. Read that again: 16 yards a carry (!!!). That rung out to 344 yards on the ground and he added 82 more on four catches, which is really a fine game for any receiver on its own.
He added 146 more yards on kick returns, tallying up 572 all-purpose yards. That's a Big 12 record, as if there was any doubt. Those 344 yards on the ground are a school record. With just seven more all-purpose yards, Austin would have broken Emmett White's record at Utah State against New Mexico set in 2000. His night featured 322 yards rushing and 134 yards receiving.
Still, I can't deny Austin the Big 12's Player of the Week award because he didn't win. He had Oklahoma coaches, players and fans pulling their hair out, waiting for him to break loose in the open field time after time.
"He is a tremendous football player and was the best player on the field," West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen told reporters. "In hindsight, we obviously should have done it prior to this."
No kidding. West Virginia's mired in a five-game losing streak for now, but Austin proved he's an otherworldy talent on Saturday night. He had arguably the greatest performance in Big 12 history. It's not his fault the defense gave up 50 points.
You have to give him the Big 12's Player of the Week honors, too.