MORGANTOWN -- No. 8 West Virginia's offense didn't have a running game, didn't have great pass protection and didn't have the customary performance by the Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback.
The Mountaineers had Tavon Austin, though, and for Saturday afternoon that was enough.
Austin matched a school record with 13 receptions for 179 yards and scored all three of his team's offensive touchdowns as WVU beat Maryland, 31-21, before 58,504 at Mountaineer Field.
"This was Tavon's best game," Coach Dana Holgorsen said. "He played fast. Thirteen catches and three touchdowns is special. But it was by far his best game. His effort was tremendous. His energy on the sideline was tremendous. He's the one guy we had on offense who played his best game."
Austin's 34-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter, set up by safety Darwin Cook's second forced fumble of the game, was his fourth catch on a decisive nine-play, 67-yard drive.
It also came on third-and-15 and tied former receiver Jock Sanders for first place on the school's career receptions list.
"The man on top of me just ran to the sideline," Austin said. "He wasn't even looking at me, so I just cut it up. By the time he looked at me, I was already down the field."
Austin broke the record with his 207th career catch on the next possession, though that was for a 2-yard loss, which was somewhat appropriate on a day when the Mountaineers had 12 of their 68 snaps either lose yardage or go for no gain.
Austin, a Baltimore native who set state high school records for points, touchdowns, rushing yards and total yards, finished his career aganst Maryland with 31 receptions for 407 yards and five touchdowns
The Mountaineers (3-0), who scored 15 offensive touchdowns and averaged 612 yards and 29.5 first downs in the first two games, totaled 363 yards and 19 first downs against Maryland (2-2).
WVU was also scoreless in the third quarter with 14 plays and 44 yards, the first scoreless quarter since the first quarter of last season's regular-season finale at USF.
The Terrapins entered the game ranked No. 6 in pass defense and No. 8 in total defense.
"Give them credit," Holgorsen said. "We played an ACC, BCS team that's getting better and better. A lot of guys on their defense are pretty good players. We just didn't do a very good job. I don't think we played our best game, but we did enough. We didn't have any turnovers. We scored 24 points, which was enough to win."
Quarterback Geno Smith was 30-for-43 for 338 yards and three scores, but was sacked twice and hit a number of other times and found himself on the receiving end of lectures from Holgorsen on the sideline.
"We were behind the chains too often. I took sacks. I didn't make the right checks. I didn't get the ball out of my hands fast enough," Smith said. "We weren't good offensively, especially with the defense coming after us like they did."
Receiver Stedman Bailey, who caught 22 passes for 277 yards and five touchdowns in the first two games, caught six passes for 55 yards and did not score.