BALTIMORE - Given the debacle that was much of West Virginia's 2012 football season, Saturday's loss to Maryland doesn't exactly stand out as particularly unusual or historic.
After all, the Mountaineers lost games by 41 and 34 points a season ago, the worst of those actually in a home game, a loss to Kansas State.
Still, losing 37-0 to Maryland, which the Mountaineers did by committing six turnovers at rainy M&T Bank Stadium, was a defeat of rather epic proportions.
Consider that it was West Virginia's first shutout since a 35-0 loss to Virginia Tech in 2001, Rich Rodriguez's first season. It was the school's worst shutout loss in 38 years, dating back to a 39-0 loss to Penn State in 1975, and the third-worst in school history. Only a 41-0 defeat at the hands of Virginia in 1965 was worse than that Penn State loss.
It was easily the Mountaineers' worst offensive performance of the Dana Holgorsen era. At the end of the third quarter, the Mountaineers had four first downs, four turnovers and 109 yards of total offense. By game's end they had just 175 total yards and six first downs.
It also came against a team that had lost seven straight times to West Virginia and is coming off of a 4-8 season. The Terps are 4-0 now, while West Virginia fell to 2-2 heading back into Big 12 play with a home game against Oklahoma State next week.
Afterward, it was Holgorsen who summed it up the best. He did so without mincing words and by echoing the thoughts of almost anyone who saw the performance.
"We're as inept as we can possibly be in college football,'' Holgorsen said.
He got no arguments.
The odd thing about the lopsidedness of the loss, though, was that it didn't start out that way. In fact, it was nothing but bad breaks that set the Mountaineers off on the wrong course - a muffed punt and one bad throw, to be precise.
"Nothing went our way today,'' Holgorsen said.
Well, bad breaks and an even worse offense, that is.
Not since a 2003 loss to Maryland has a West Virginia offense produced fewer yards than the 175 generated Saturday. First downs? That was really ugly. The Mountaineers had one each on the first two drives of each half, then put together two on the same drive in the fourth quarter after the score was already 37-0.