WVU’s Top 12 Headlines of 2012: #10-12

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#12.  Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey’s Season

As football fans we often live in the moment.  The highs are always the highest and the lows are always the lowest.  Fans always view the current moment as the most important.  The annual hot seat for coaches heats up without any perspective to the great accomplishments they achieved over their career. As is such, there has been no shortage of praise for Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey this year.  Our beloved Mountaineer duo received heapings of praise beginning in the offseason for their expected heroics and they did anything but disappoint. The two churned out the best seasons in WVU wide receiver history.

However; in this instance it may take awhile before we come to grips with the magnitude of what we have witnessed. This is to no fault of our fans, as our eyes have been glued to them and their cohort Geno all year, but the numbers are so staggering that its hard to let it all sync in.

Let’s take a glimpse at what they did this year and throughout their career:

#1 in career receptions – 286
#1 in receiving yards – 3404
#2 in touchdowns – 29
# in kickoff return yards – 2407

#1 in kickoff return touchdowns – 4 – tied with Shawn Terry
#1 (112) in 2012, #3(101), and #13 (58) in single season receptions
#3 (1280) in 2012, #4 (1186), and #16 yards (787) in single season receiving yards
#2 in single season recieving touchdowns – 12tied with Stedman, Darius Reynaud, and Chris Henry.  Also, has two seasons at 8 touchdowns, tied with six others for 9th place.

Tavon was also named to the AFCA and AP All-America first teams.

#3 in career receptions – 209
#2 in receiving yards – 3223
#1 touchdowns – 41
#2 (113) in 2012, and #7 (72) in single season receptions

#1 (1627), and #2 (1279) in single season receiving yards
#1 (25), tied for #2 (12) in single season receiving touchdowns
Stedman was also a 2012 Biletnikoff finalist.

In summation, Tavon and Stedman have littered the Mountaineer record books in 2012 and their careers, placing the number one or two totals in almost every receiving related statistic.  Lets also remember that Stedman is opting to leave school a year early for the NFL.

In a record shattering game against Baylor, the duo combined for 27 receptions, 518 yards receiving, and 7 touchdowns. Against Oklahoma they had 631 of rushing and receiving yards with 6 touchdowns.  Let’s not forget their 5 touchdowns versus Clemson.

Remember that Tavon began his career as a dynamic running back before transitioning to wide receiver, a note we were reminded of when the Sooners came town. In the Shootout against Oklahoma, he registered 572 all purpose yards, setting a Big XII record and coming six yards short of an NCAA record.
This is the same guy who came up just six yards short of equaling the NCAA single game all-purpose yardage record with his unbelievable 572-yard performance against Oklahoma. He will always be remembered for games like this, his domination against his hometown Terrapins, and his unbelievable agility that frustrated opponents for four years.

Partially spoiled by an underwhelming team win total, I am not sure that Mountaineer nation has grasped these statistics. We have also been spoiled by watching a plethora of elite talent in a long run of excellence with Rasheed, Quincy, Owen, Pat, Steve, Noel, and Henry over the past decade.  Let there be no doubt though, we just watched the culmination of two of the greatest Mountaineer seasons and careers.   As the years go by, we will look back in reverie to monumental performances by these two and tell the future about how great they were. We will miss these guys, but look forward to them grabbing the highlights on Sundays. I’ll smile every time Berman and crew gush over them, but nothing in the NFL will replace the memories Stedman hauling in over the shoulder 80 yard touchdown passes or Austin embarrassing Bob Stoop’s and Dabo Swinney’s defenses.

On the field they were #1 and #3, but in annals of Mountaineer history, they will be remembered as #1 and #2.