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USU football: Austin fights to forget multiple injuries

With injuries behind him, senior receiver is enjoying a stellar season for Utah State.

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Father and son both credit those times when asked how Austin has become the player he is. Today, he’s one of the most difficult receivers to cover one-on-one in the Western Athletic Conference. At a sturdy 6 foot 3 and 200 pounds, Austin is the master at catching the fade route. It’s the reason that he could have a professional future as a possession receiver.

"He’s somebody who must touch the football," Andersen said. "He’s our best receiver and he’s a playmaker and a leader."

At a glance

Matt Austin file

2007-08 » Played at Mount San Antonio junior college in California. Had 71 catches for 1,134 yards as a sophomore

2009 » Broke his foot in a workout in his hometown of Pasadena, Calif. Missed the entire season

2010 » Ruptured his patella tendon in the first half of a season-opening loss to Oklahoma. Missed the entire season

2011 » Led Utah State in receptions, yards and reception touchdowns. Caught three game-winning touchdown passes. Was granted a sixth season of eligibility

2012 » Has three touchdown catches in four games

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Austin has three touchdown catches in four games. When the injuries occurred, Austin didn’t know whether he would play another down.

The days following the knee injury were the worst. Phillip and Melissa called. Their son was slurring his speech, in so much pain that the painkillers weren’t working. They asked Matt what time of day it was. He told them he didn’t know whether it was day or night.

Phillip and Melissa were on the next plane to Utah from Pasadena, Calif.

"We knew we had to go up there and help out," Phillip said. "We got there and he had trash bags over the window. His laundry wasn’t done.

"His room was dark. No wonder he didn’t know what time of day it was."

Austin eventually recovered emotionally. That was the first step.

Then he recovered physically. His football life became much better.

He played all 13 games in 2011, leading the team in receptions, yards and receiving touchdowns. He caught a pass in 13 consecutive games.

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He hooked up with Adam Kennedy for the game-winning touchdown passes against San Jose State and New Mexico State.

Matt Austin doesn’t know whether or not he will make the NFL. But he plans to play the game as long as it will have him. No regrets has become a motto for him. He eventually wants to become a firefighter.

"He’s done everything that I’ve asked of him," Melissa Austin said. "I’ve been very proud of him. He promised me that he would graduate from school and he’s done that."

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