Baylor vs. West Virginia: Game-Changing Stars to Keep an Eye on in Morgantown

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent ISeptember 29, 2012

MORGANTOWN, WV - SEPTEMBER 22:  Tavon Austin #1 of the West Virginia Mountaineers runs for a touchdown after a 34 yard reception in the fourth quarter against the Maryland Terrapins during the game on September 22, 2012 at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia.  WVU defeated Maryland 31-21.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The No. 9 West Virginia Mountaineers (3-0) and No. 25 Baylor Bears (3-0) will kick off their Big 12 conference season on Saturday in Morgantown.

The Top 25 clash will feature a number of game-changing talents, including quarterbacks Geno Smith and Nick Florence. Both seniors have passed for more than 1,000 yards in three games so far this fall. 

Smith and Florence are joined by a handful of other studs who will make their presence felt at Mountaineer Field this weekend. 

Let's highlight some game-changing stars to keep an eye on this Saturday. 


Tavon Austin, West Virginia

West Virginia's talented do-it-all playmaker, Tavon Austin is a threat to score on each and every play. It doesn't matter whether he's lined up as a wide receiver or running the ball on a reverse, Austin will have the Baylor defense on its heels all day long.

A 5'9" senior from Baltimore, Maryland, Austin has touched the ball 40 times on offense in three games, and has racked up 429 yards and five touchdowns. Last week against Maryland, Austin accounted for 179 total yards through the air. 

The Bears absolutely must contain Austin on Saturday if they are to have any shot at upsetting the Mountaineers in Morgantown. He wears No. 1 for a reason. He's fast, he's explosive and he's hands-down the best player on West Virginia's roster. 

If I had to put my money on a player guaranteed to make a game-changing play or two this weekend, it would be Tavon Austin. 


Tevin Reese, Baylor

It's amazing to consider the type of impact Baylor wide receiver Tevin Reese can have on a game despite rarely touching the ball. The junior has just 15 receptions in three games for the Bears this season, but he has turned those limited opportunities into 304 yards and three scores.

Reese is averaging an impressive 20.3 yards per catch this season, compared to the 17.2 he averaged a season ago. Reese's incredible production speaks to his ability to change a game on a single play. 

Few wide receivers in college football can turn out a "Player of the Game" performance on just five touches. Look for No. 16 to shine versus a suspect Mountaineers' secondary in Morgantown on Saturday. 


Doug Rigg, West Virginia

Mountaineers junior linebacker Doug Rigg made his presence felt and changed last weekend's game against Maryland by returning a fumble 51 yards for the opening touchdown in West Virginia's 31-21 win over its rival. 

That wasn't the first of Rigg's game-changing efforts this season, though. No. 47 also intercepted a pass and returned it 46 yards against Marshall in West Virginia's season-opening win. 

Rigg has 16 tackles through three games and has increased his total in every game since the Mountaineers' opener. Watch for the New Jersey native to continue to wreak havoc on opposing offenses and put himself in position to make the game-changing play this weekend.


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