"Last year against Maryland we let them keep playing and they scored a bunch in the second half and almost beat us in the end,'' Holgorsen recalled. "I'm pleased with how we're starting. I'm pleased with our tempo. But we need to do a better job of starting fast in the second half and do a better job of finishing people off.''
Indeed, last season the Mountaineers ditched that slow-start pattern and nearly ran the Terps out of their own stadium. West Virginia led 24-3 in the second quarter and 34-10 early in the third, but Maryland then scored three touchdowns and pulled to within 34-31. It took an Eain Smith interception with 73 seconds to play to finally seal a 37-31 win.
Of course, the biggest difference between that comeback and any lulls the Mountaineers have gone through this season are obvious. With such large leads, those giving up late yards and scores have been largely non-starters.
Still, Holgorsen doesn't care about who is playing, just that they play hard and well, and that hasn't been the case.
"We played 59 guys this past week and a lot of people, even myself, have been guilty of saying, 'Well, it's just the young kids in the fourth quarter,' '' Holgorsen said. "But we're not doing a good job of finishing games. We gave up the touchdown in the fourth quarter last week. There were six missed tackles. And offensively, for the second game in a row, we didn't score in the fourth quarter with our young guys.
"But it's not all just young guys. There are some experienced guys out there as well, guys who play on special teams and guys who are backups who need to be able to go in and play. I don't care who they are, their job is to move the ball or tackle people. It's great to play those guys in situations, but it needs to look better than it has the past two fourth quarters.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.