MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - This past week, the Los Angeles Times ran a headline over a Bill Plaschke column that read, "Marqise Lee has no equal in college football."
On Saturday night, Tavon Austin provided the most electric performance ever at Milan Puskar Stadium. The most spectacular Mountaineer performance ever.
He was as entertaining as Muse, Nirvana and Queen all bundled.
Austin cemented an All-America spot, if he didn't jump into the Heisman Trophy conversation.
But, like Lee, his team lost. Again.
What a shame for a man, a 5-foot-9 man, who played as if possessed. Not since state native Chuck Howley, who won the Super Bowl MVP for Dallas on a losing team, has such an injustice occurred.
In his first game as the primary runner since high school, Austin had 344 yards and surpassed the 2004 Mountaineer rushing record of 337 set by Kay-Jay Harris against East Carolina.
Austin's game was but 6 yards short of being the best of all-time. The NCAA record for all-purpose yards was 578 yards. Austin finished Saturday - against Oklahoma, keep in mind - with 572.
WVU's previous high? Garrett Ford Sr.'s 356 set against Pitt in 1965.
And Austin did it in style.
In the first half, he gained 80 yards on 11 carries, averaging 7.3 yards. He caught four passes for 82 yards. He had five kick returns for 97 yards.
But that was just a warmup.
Right after the half, he buzzed 74 yards down the left sideline for a score.
On third down at the OU 4, he took the handoff and, two moves later, found himself in the end zone.
Once, he high-stepped, as if to slow down to trip up the defenders, on a 56-yard run to the 23. Highlights, hello.
Then there was his left-to-right 54-yard rush that, coupled with two OU penalties, put WVU ahead 43-38.
Yet the Mountaineers fell in a thriller 50-49 before 50,238. Because of their defense. Again.
Sometimes you wonder if the opposing offensive coaches talk much as a couple heading out on a date.