Perhaps, but that's not the way this season has gone for West Virginia. And nothing was going to change on this night.
"Everything that could go wrong,'' linebacker Doug Rigg said, "did go wrong.''
For the longest time, though, it seemed just the opposite. West Virginia jumped out to a 31-7 lead in the second quarter by one-upping everything Iowa State did. The Mountaineers turned a Nick Kwiatkowski interception into a touchdown and safety Karl Joseph returned a fumble 38 yards for a score and it was quickly 17-0. Even when ISU countered with a 54-yard Rohach run to make it 17-7, WVU quickly scored on a Trickett pass to Kevin White and a 76-yard Sims run to make it 31-7 with nine minutes still to play in the second quarter.
Even when Iowa State closed to within 31-14 at the half it still seemed WVU was in control and the score remained that way into the fourth quarter. Sims was having a monster day with 149 rushing yards - going over 1,000 for the season - and Mario Alford was on his way to an eight-catch, 215-yard night. West Virginia finished the night with 568 yards and averaged 7.7 yards per play.
"We had almost 600 yards of total offense,'' Holgorsen said. "You guys can keep writing stuff about how bad we are on offense, but we were improving.
"But you can't give up 575 yards and win. You can't turn the ball over offensively and win.''
The Mountaineers did both. It began innocuously enough when ISU punter Kirby Van Der Kamp ran a fake and got a first down with the Cyclones trailing 38-21 in the fourth quarter. Two plays and two penalties later it was third-and-14. But that's when Rohach completed his 62-yard TD pass to Bundrage and the momentum swung. Two turnovers later it was a tie game.
West Virginia still had a chance to salvage the game before overtime, reaching midfield with time enough to run one quick play and try a 55-yard field goal on the same end that Josh Lambert had easily made a 50-yarder earlier. But after two Iowa State time outs, West Virginia was penalized 5 yards for delay of game. It meant the ensuing short pass completion only got the field goal to 60 yards, which was too far.
"We were trying to figure out what play to run and no one realized the play clock was at 25 and not 40,'' Trickett said. "That hurt.''
Not nearly as much as giving up that one-play score in the third overtime and then not being able to match it in four tries from the 3. But that pretty much describes West Virginia's season in a nutshell.
"We can't look back because there's nothing we can do about it now,'' said Joseph. "We just have to start working and have a great offseason.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.