It proved, though, to be the definition of an exercise in futility.
While the season began with WVU showing one of the nation's best offenses, it is now defined as a school with perhaps its worst defense ever. It has outside shots at being one of the worst in FBS history. Maryland's allowed 553 yards per game back in the early 1990s. Louisiana-Lafayette's defense once allowed 50.3 points per game.
Wherever the WVU defense stands, though, it's embarrassing for DeForest and Holgorsen. Opposing receivers are open more than Wal-Mart. And they have about as much space.
At first, of course, Smith and the Mountaineer offense overcame the horrid pass defense. The team ran out to a 5-0 record. It recorded a win at Texas.
The collapse, however, seems to have spread across the team. The special teams followed suit first. Nothing changed Saturday, save for Tavon Austin's electric 100-yard kickoff return.
On the game's very first play, the opening kick, WVU's Corey Smith placed the ball beautifully in the right side of the field. But Kansas State's Tramaine Thompson returned it to the 43-yard line. There was the prerequisite Mountaineer shanked punt, this one 25 yards.
WVU's offense has also fallen in step. After one quarter, Klein had 118 passing yards. Smith had 12. Smith had his first interception - and second - since last Dec. 1. The Mountaineers had back-to-back games of scoring 14 points. On Saturday, the final total was 243 yards, both rushing (88) and passing (155).
The capper: the WVU debacle was not only witnessed by a packed house of 60,101 at Puskar Stadium, but by a national Fox television network audience and a healthy lineup of national media members in the press box.
In a span of 3 hours and two minutes Saturday night, WVU completed a transformation from one of the nation's sexiest college football teams to one worthy of winces.
In addition, the Mountaineers have fallen from a team gunning for a BCS berth to one now seemed headed to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl (Big 12 No. 4), Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl (No. 5), Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas (No. 6) or, perhaps, the New Era Pinstripe Bowl (No. 7) as a member of its new, tougher, conference.
Holgorsen tried his best after the game. He said there are no excuses and the blame starts with him. He took up for DeForest, saying "we have good defensive coaches."
But opposing coaches have caught up with WVU's offense. The school's defense isn't improving. The team has rolled backward.
And those wheels are off.
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, mitchvin...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.