MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia University's football team could have put up another touchdown on William & Mary in Saturday's home opener at Milan Puskar Stadium.
The final could have been 31-17, rather than 24-17.
Yet Mountaineer coach Dana Holgorsen appropriately killed the remaining seconds and sent his players into the victory formation.
Or, perhaps more correctly, he sent them into an oh-thank-God-we-were-somehow-able-to-come-back-and-win-this-one formation.
See, the final score correctly reflected the game. WVU lived up (or down, depending on how you view it) to the low expectations bestowed upon it in the preseason.
Beforehand, there were many questions. Who would be the starting quarterback? (Paul Millard.) Would the other (Clint Trickett) play? (Yes.) Would the Mountaineer running game be front and center in Holgorsen's heretofore "Air Raid"? (Yes.)
What few questioned, however, is whether the Mountaineers would win over a team picked to finish ninth in the 11-team Colonial Athletic Conference.
Afterward, even Tribe coach Jimmye Laycock seemed to suggest such.
"If you'd have told me coming up here we'd be tied going into the fourth quarter, I'd probably have taken that, to be honest with you," Laycock said.
The reason is WVU has many more resources with which to attract talent. The reason is the Mountaineers have become nationally recognized in the sport.
On Saturday, though, West Virginia looked more James Madison-ish. William & Mary, meanwhile, was poised. It was disciplined. It was smart. It certainly was well prepared.
Holgorsen said his team really didn't focus on the Tribe until last week. Which showed. William & Mary apparently focused on WVU all off-season.
"I told our coaches early in the preseason I didn't want to work on a whole bunch of stuff we wouldn't use against West Virginia," said the coach.
The Tribe players were disappointed.
"It was a tough loss," said standout W&M free safety Jerome Couplin. "We had the lead at halftime. We were tied going into the fourth quarter. We gave up a touchdown late in the game and that hurt.
"[The Mountaineers are] a good team. They have depth. They have athletes. They gave us their best shot. They played hard; we played hard."
Says a lot, right?
WVU fans have to be concerned. When Holgorsen was hired, they expected a return to the high-flying days of Rich Rodriguez. And there certainly have been some of those. (See Orange Bowl, Clemson; early season 2012.) What they saw on Saturday, however, was more reminiscent of the Frank Cignetti WVU days.