WACO, Texas - As is generally the case, there was a common theme among players and coaches following West Virginia's brutal loss to No. 17 Baylor Saturday night. Call them talking points, if you will.
Nothing, of course, can be said that makes a 73-42 loss sound any better than it was, particularly when it was a 31-point loss that didn't even seem that close. After all, it was by just the midpoint of the second quarter that the Mountaineers trailed by 35 - it was 42-7 - and nothing that happened beyond that was anything more than both teams just playing out the string.
And while there is no way to explain away such a dismal performance, there is a way to put it into context. Unfortunately for the Mountaineers, this is the second time in the past three games they have been forced to do that.
"It counts as one loss, much like what happened at Maryland three weeks ago,'' Dana Holgorsen said, obviously trying to put a 37-0 drubbing to the Terps further in the rear-view mirror than is accurate. "It counts as a loss. We'll regroup and we'll do our best to get back on the winning track here in two weeks.
"We've got a lot to work on in the next two weeks, which we'll get back and we'll do.''
Indeed, if Saturday night's performance at Floyd Casey Stadium illustrated anything, it is that the Mountaineers (3-3, 1-2 Big 12) have plenty to work on before the second half of the season begins in two weeks with a home game against Texas Tech. West Virginia is off this week.
In fact, the most difficult task facing Holgorsen right now might be deciding what to focus attention on first, offense or defense. It is perhaps odd to say that both units were equally inept after the defense gave up 73 points and the offense scored 42, but that is closer to the truth than the raw scoring numbers would indicate.
First the defense. The 1904 WVU team lost 130-0 to Michigan. No other Mountaineer team before or since has given up more points than this year's group did to Baylor. Even the first game played by the first WVU team ever in 1891 only resulted in 72 points allowed.
But that's only scratching the surface. Baylor might have matched that 130 had it wanted to. Consider that of starting quarterback Bryce Petty's 347 passing yards, all but five came in the first half while the Bears were rolling up a 56-14 lead. All of Antwan Goodley's 170 receiving yards and Lache Seastrunk's 172 rushing yards came in the first half.
Even Baylor's mind-numbing total yardage figure was misleading on the low side. The Bears had 864 yards - a school record on both sides for yards and yards allowed - but at halftime were on pace for 1,034 before calling off the dogs. In the first quarter, WVU gave up 369 yards - more than any team in major college football has surrendered in any quarter of any game in at least the last 10 years.