The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

September 27, 2012

Why gray and not Gold and Blue?

MORGANTOWN — I always thought that Gold and Blue were untouchable as West Virginia University’s official school colors.

But the ninth–ranked Mountaineers wore more gray in the football players’ uniforms for last Saturday’s 31-21 victory against pesky Maryland at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium. And some of the 58,504 fans are still complaining. They not only dislike the color but said it was difficult to determine who was who from their seats.

Is this trashing tradition? I really don’t know. I’m just asking.

If so, does anyone have the right or authority to change WVU’s historic Gold and Blue — the official school colors? There are those who firmly believe that no coach or player or any athletic team at WVU should have that right.

I can remember when the fans didn’t don Gold and Blue. But they do at home games don one color or the other — if not both now.

And if memory serves it was Don Nehlen, the Hall of Famer who first urged the fans to wear school colors at the games when he was head football coach at WVU. That supposedly boosts the team.

Surely the color change wasn’t to conform with the university’s move to membership in the Big 12 Conference.

Or was it?

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Tavon Austin tied and broke some school records in leading West Virginia to the 31-21 victory against Maryland.

The 5-foot-9, 174-pound senior from Baltimore, caught 13 passes for 179 yards and all three offensive touchdowns. You may recall that those stats were nearly a carbon copy of those posted by junior wide receiver Stedman Bailey Sept. 15 in the 42-12 win against James Madison.

In the process, inside receiver Austin accounted for about half of his team’s total offense of 363 yards. He also broke WVU’s all-time record for pass completions. He now has a career total of 208.

Jock Sanders (2007-10) held the previous record of 206.

“He had great energy,” WVU’s offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said of Austin. “If you watched him on the sideline, he’s in the huddle on special teams when he’s not going in.”

“He’s really doing a great job, especially with these young kids. His energy on the sidelines has been a ton better,” head coach Dana Holgorsen said. “When things weren’t going good, he was the guy going around trying to pick everybody up. And that’s what leaders do.”

Austin said, “Speed definitely kills!

“That’s why I picked up most of my yardage after making a catch. I’ve been blessed with a lot of speed. And it’s gotten me out of a lot of bad situations.”

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