And afterward it left Dana Holgorsen naturally wishing he'd done it before.
"It probably should have been done four years ago,'' said Holgorsen, who was nowhere near WVU when Austin arrived on campus in 2009. "In hindsight we obviously should have done it prior to this.''
Well, perhaps, but that's not necessarily true. No one can argue with Austin's success as a first-time tailback, but he hasn't been bad as a slot receiver, either. He remains the nation's leader in receptions per game and just went over the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the second straight season.
But the most compelling argument against putting Austin in the backfield more prior to this has had little to do with his potential production. Both his listed height of 5-foot-9 and his listed weight of 171 pounds seem an exaggeration at times, and those body types don't react well to 20-25 tackles per game from linemen and linebackers. As a receiver and kick returner, when he's stopped it is often by smaller defenders or he has the chance to run out of bounds and not be tackled at all.
And, too, there's Austin's future, which is not as an NFL running back.
"No, I think I would still play slot,'' Austin said when asked if he'd prefer a return to his high school position as a tailback. "Just for my reasoning only, for my dream to play in the NFL, I don't think I would last in the NFL as a running back. If I do get that chance then I'd like to go in the backfield a couple times. But I wouldn't change anything; I'd stay a slot receiver.''
In West Virginia's closing games against Iowa State and Kansas, expect a mix. Again, Oklahoma's defense invited a back of Austin's ability, putting him in space almost immediately against a short-handed box. That won't be the case again, especially not in Friday's 3:30 p.m. game against defensive-minded Iowa State.
But it would also be foolish not to present the Cyclones with that threat and see what happens. If nothing else it will attract defensive attention that would otherwise be reserved for West Virginia's passing game.
BRIEFLY: Austin has scored four different ways now this season (receiving, rushing, punt return and kickoff return) and there's actually a trick play in the book where he passes the ball. It's never been used, though, and might not be used.
"I hate to say this about Tavon,'' Dawson said, "but he doesn't throw the ball very well at all.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at twitter.com/dphickman1.