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Former West Virginia Stars Meet Face to Face in the NFL

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The subject of ‘head coach’ is rather fragile right now following a 45-20 loss to Baylor, and it’s always a rocky subject when former WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen is brought up, but the former leading man posted a photo reminiscing on Twitter Wednesday afternoon.

When the Jacksonville Jaguars played the Tennessee Titans on Sunday afternoon, a couple of former WVU greats meet face-to-face — literally. Jacksonville’s Tavon Austin caught a ball from quarterback Trevor Lawrence and found himself forced to juke out Tennessee’s David Long Jr.

Holgorsen quoted the photo with the caption, “Two of the best I’ve ever coached!!” And while Austin and Long never played on the same team (Austin’s time coming from 2009-12 and Long’s from 2015-18), both were among the All-Americans at WVU during Holgorsen’s time in Morgantown.

Long’s Titans came out with a 37-19 win over Austin’s Jaguars Sunday, but both played well in the contest. Long led all players with 12 tackles (10 solo) and a tackle for loss while Austin caught five passes on five targets for 54 yards.

Austin is, of course, a WVU legend — ranking first in all-time receptions, receiving yards and all-purpose yards and third in touchdowns. He recorded 288 receptions for 3,413 yards and 29 touchdowns and rushed for 1,033 yards on 110 attempts with six more touchdowns. Austin also returned 97 kicks for 2,407 yards and four touchdowns and returned 34 punts for 433 yards and a touchdown. Simply put, he’s one of the most electric players in college football history.

Long was no slouch at WVU either, recording 246 tackles (169 solo), 39.5 tackles for loss, 12.5 sacks, defended 10 passes, forced two fumbles and recovered one. In 2018, he was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.

While Austin hasn’t reached the lofty heights of his college career and Long is still a young player finding his way in the league, both will forever be linked to their beginnings in West Virginia.

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