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Despite stats, WVU's Austin is not satisfied

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By Josh Sickles
Monday, Sept. 26, 2011
 

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia receiver Tavon Austin had a frustratingly good game against LSU.

Normally, when a player catches 11 passes for 187 yards, he's happy, but it was the plays Austin didn't make Saturday night against LSU that are sticking with him.

"I think it was fine, the plays that I made," he said, "but it started off with me. I had the second turnover, and they scored off of that."

Austin was referring to quarterback Geno Smith's first interception. Smith's pass went through Austin's hands and off his helmet before falling to LSU safety Brandon Taylor, which led to a 13-0 Tigers lead.

The junior also missed an opportunity on a third-and-5 late in the second quarter when he dropped a would-be first down.

"I'm one of the leaders," Austin said, "so I have to step up and take the blame. That's definitely on me."

Austin's performance was impressive nonetheless. It was the eighth-best, single-game receiving total in school history, and he was one catch short of tying the receptions record.

Three yards and a cloud of Dustin

Freshman running back Dustin Garrison has been the odd man out in the West Virginia running back rotation, but he made the most of his opportunity Saturday.

Garrison ran 10 times for 46 yards and a touchdown in the best performance of his young career.

"There are few plays I could have left out there, but what's done is done," he said. "I just have to get better for next week."

Garrison's first run came on the final drive of the first half and went for 17 yards, which is West Virginia's longest of the season.

"I thought he played well," coach Dana Holgorsen said. "He made some plays."

Punting problems

Redshirt junior punter Corey Smith has been inconsistent this season, and West Virginia might be looking for a new punter

Of Smith's six punts Saturday, half went at least 50 yards while the other half didn't make it 35 yards, including his first punt that went 14 yards and led to LSU's first touchdown.

Holgorsen said after the game that he'll probably look at other options.

"Hitting a 60-yarder, then hitting a 10-yarder's not going to get it cut," he said. "It's not going to get it done."

Hold the line

The Mountaineers' offensive line continues to improve and showed its ability against one of the nation's best defensive lines.

Holgorsen called the pass protection "fantastic," as West Virginia didn't allow a sack.

With time to throw, Smith set program records in completions (38), attempts (65) and passing yards (463).

"That was a big success for us," said left tackle Don Barclay, a Seneca Valley graduate. "If we give him time, he can do a lot of special things."

MOUNTAINEERS' LOOK AHEAD

West Virginia (3-1)

Next opponent: Bowling Green (3-1)

Time and place: 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Milan Puskar Stadium

Scouting report: After committing four turnovers in the national spotlight against LSU, West Virginia's offense looks to get back on track in its final game before Big East play begins.

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