MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - For 21/2 quarters Saturday, West Virginia did pretty much everything it needed to do to upset No. 16 Texas Tech.
For the final 11/2 quarters, however, the Mountaineers did nothing they needed to do.
It's not surprising, of course, that those final 20 minutes ruined everything that transpired in the first 40. Nor is it shocking that Mountaineer coach Dana Holgorsen chose to dwell on the ending and not the beginning.
After all, it was the difference in the game.
"They had enough fight and will to make enough plays to win the game,'' Holgorsen said of the Red Raiders. "Obviously we didn't have that. We started feeling pretty good about ourselves in the middle of the third quarter.
"We refused to make a play on offense, defense or special teams in the last quarter and a half. We refused to coach well enough to be able to win the game. And obviously that will get addressed.''
It won't be addressed fast enough to make a difference in this one, of course. The bottom line is that because the Mountaineers allowed Tech to score 21 unanswered points to end the game, they were able to blow a 27-16 lead and lose 37-27 in front of a homecoming crowd of 54,084 at Mountaineer Field.
The loss dropped the Mountaineers (3-4, 1-3 Big 12) below .500 for the first time this season. Texas Tech (7-0, 4-0) extended its winning streak to eight games over two seasons.
And it was pretty much all because West Virginia's offense, which played as well as it has all season while taking that 27-16 lead, reverted to form when it mattered most. The Mountaineers finished the game by gaining 40 yards and one first down on their final five possessions combined.
That was after gaining 397 yards and 22 first downs prior to that.
"For two quarters [the second and third] it started resembling offensive football. That's what it's supposed to look like,'' said Holgorsen, who until Saturday had seen very little of that this season. "But when you end the game with five three-and-outs, I think everybody would agree it's as bad as it can possibly be offensively.''
Call it a grand tease. For those first two and a half quarters, the Mountaineers seemed to have found themselves offensively. Clint Trickett made his third straight start at quarterback and, after one disjointed series to start the game, played exactly the way everyone hoped he would when he transferred from Florida State.
His second and third series ended prematurely because of errors not of his doing - a Charles Sims fumble and penalties by linemen Pat Eger and Mark Glowinski, and then a bizarre decision by Holgorsen to bypass a field goal in order to try a fourth-and-14 play - that ended drives that had reached deep into Texas Tech territory.