The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

November 9, 2012

Special teams have been highlight to WVU’s offense

West Virginia’s best offense the last two games may have been its special teams, and the game’s often-overlooked third phase could be critical Saturday when the Mountaineers (5-3, 2-3 Big 12) hit the road to face Oklahoma State (5-3, 3-2 Big 12) at 3:30 p.m. on ABC.

Of the 45 points WVU scored in its last eight regulation quarters — home losses to Kansas State and TCU — 14 have come directly from the return game. Tavon Austin returned a kickoff 100 yards for a score against the Wildcats, one of the only highlights in a 55-14 loss, and he put the Mountaineers ahead with less than two minutes on the clock against TCU with an electrifying 76-yard punt return.

Watching that tape had to be especially scary for an Oklahoma State team that gave up a 100-yard kickoff return to Kansas State’s Tyler Lockett in a 44-30 loss last week. The Cowboys rank ninth out of 10 Big 12 teams in kickoff coverage.

“They’re just as dangerous as Kansas State’s Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson,” said OSU’s Quinn Sharp, who handles both the punting and kicking duties. “They have Tavon Austin back there, and he’s just as fast as those guys. So we have to come prepared and take care of business.”

Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy isn’t willing to wait much longer to see that from his team.

“What we have to do is prepare, practice it, make sure the players understand it and play with great effort,” he explained. “The guy we played last week (Lockett) is really good. This guy (Austin) is a different really good. There’s times he gets big returns, and he doesn’t even go where they blocked it. He’s special. He reminds me of Perrish Cox (a former Oklahoma State star who is now playing for the San Francisco 49ers).”


WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen announced Thursday that freshman wide receiver Tavares Copeland has left the team for “personal reasons.” The coach would not elaborate on the decision.

Copeland had 10 catches for 55 yards in three games and even started a game after his redshirt was pulled earlier this season.


WVU’s women’s basketball team will open the 2012-13 campaign tonight when it hosts UNC Wilmington at the WVU Coliseum at 7 p.m.

“I’m always excited for the season to start,” said WVU head coach Mike Carey. “It’s hard to believe the season is here already, but it is.”

The Mountaineers return 80 percent of their scoring from last season and welcome in five new players from a nationally-ranked recruiting class. Junior Christal Caldwell averaged 10.8 points and 5.7 rebounds per game last season.

WVU finished 24-10 a year ago and lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Mountaineers were picked to finish second in their first season in the Big 12.

This will be the first all-time meeting between WVU and UNCW, which finished 20-3 last season and advanced to the WNIT.


Mini-packages for the 2012-13 WVU men’s basketball season will go on sale Monday at 9 a.m.

The Gold package will include the TCU, Texas, Oklahoma State and Iowa State games for $118. The Blue package will be made up of Kansas State, Kansas, Texas Tech and Baylor tickets and sell for $123.

Also going on sale Monday will be a Family Day package for the Oklahoma game. Four tickets, four drinks, four hot dogs and one bucket of popcorn will be included in the package for $60.

Family Day packages are on sale now for the Virginia Tech and Eastern Kentucky games. Those packages must be ordered in advance and cannot be purchased on the day of the game.

To order tickets, visit or call 1-800-WVU-GAME.

— E-mail: and follow on Twitter  @CamHuffmanRH.

Text Only
College Sports
  • Mountaineers beat Buckeyes 4-1 in lefty Vance’s first career start

    In his first career start for the WVU baseball team, sophomore left-hander Ross Vance struck out 14 en route to a 4-1 victory over Ohio State on Tuesday evening at Hawley Field.

    April 15, 2014

  • Most plays good, some not so good in Gold-Blue scrimmage

    There appeared to be a fine mixture of plays, most good with some not so good, in West Virginia University’s Gold-Blue football scrimmage last Saturday.

    April 15, 2014

  • Wesleyan edges CU twice in softball

    The Concord University softball narrowly dropped a pair of games to No. 17 West Virginia Wesleyan, 2-1 and 4-3, Sunday afternoon at Culpepper Field.

    April 14, 2014

  • Concord baseball shuts out Cardinals

    The Concord University baseball team posted two shutout victories on Sunday, extending its winning streak to seven games by beating conference foe Wheeling Jesuit.

    April 14, 2014

  • dana Much still to be answered this fall

    In Saturday’s paper, I compiled a list of five things to watch at West Virginia University’s annual Gold-Blue Spring Game. Now, after watching the football scrimmage that concluded this year’s spring drills and taking some time to process what I saw, it’s time to go back and revisit those five points and how they turned out on Saturday.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • D’Antoni speculation now seems to have legs

    Kareem Canty got what he wanted, and Marshall fans should find out this week if they will get what they want.

    April 13, 2014

  • millard Specials teams shine at Gold-Blue Game

    The scoreboard said the Gold (offense) beat the Blue (defense) 37-27 in Saturday’s Gold-Blue Spring Game at Milan Puskar Stadium using a modified scoring system that rewarded the defense for stops and turnovers and the offense for scores.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • syvertson ‘Huey the Punter’ makes transition to LB

    The first reaction of the 10,000 fans in attendance at Milan Puskar Stadium for Saturday’s Gold-Blue Spring Game when No. 42 shot through the offensive line and put junior college transfer quarterback Skyler Howard on the ground in the second half was to ooh and aah.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • crutchfield Crutchfield again named Furfari Award winner

    Already the winningest men’s basketball coach in college history in terms of percentage — yes, better than guys like John Wooden, Adolph Rupp and Roy Williams — West Liberty’s Jim Crutchfield is heading into some lofty territory within the confines of his home state.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Five things to watch at WVU spring game

    Spring practice will come to an end for West Virginia University this afternoon when the Mountaineer football team hosts the annual Gold-Blue Spring Game at 1 p.m. at Milan Puskar Stadium.

    April 11, 2014

AP Video