ESPN has never brought its football Gameday to Morgantown, although a few years ago the network did its basketball version of the show from the Coliseum.
So much for being the only team in the country without a turnover on either side of the ledger.
That changed for West Virginia in the wrong way early Saturday. At the end of the Mountaineers' first possession - which to that point looked like a scoring drive after moving from the 25 to the Maryland 37 in six plays - Andrew Buie was popped hard after gaining about eight yards on a wide-open run through the middle. The ball squirted forward and cornerback Cameron Chism recovered it inside the 20.
WVU would also turn the ball over when Smith was hit while throwing and fumbled early in the second quarter. Smith was also intercepted in the second half through no fault of his own. His pass bounced off McCartney and Dexter McDougle was right there to catch the ball and somehow get his foot down inbounds.
"We turned the ball over three times and all three could have been prevented,'' Holgorsen said.
The turnovers were mitigated somewhat, though, by the fact that West Virginia's defense finally forced some turnovers, too. Safeties Terence Garvin, Darwin Cook and Eain Smith all picked off Maryland quarterback Danny O'Brien. Two of those were game-changers. Garvin scored on his interception and Smith's came with 73 seconds to play and the Terps driving for a winning score.
"You can't turn the ball over three times at the quarterback position and expect to beat a ranked team,'' O'Brien said. "That's really what it comes down to.''
It was almost four turnovers that West Virginia surrendered. Tavon Austin, who had a magnificent game with 11 catches for 122 yards and six kickoff returns for 121 yards, tripped over teammate Willie Millhouse on one of those returns and lost the ball when he hit the ground. Maryland returned the loose ball for a touchdown.
The instant replay, though, clearly showed Austin had the ball until he made contact with the ground and the call was reversed. That brought cheers from everyone in the announced crowd of 53,627, even the Maryland fans.
That's because most of them weren't paying attention when the referee, in announcing that the play was being reviewed, said the ruling on the field was that Austin was down and the play was dead. So when he later announced that the ruling on the field stands, they thought the touchdown was what stood.
BRIEFLY: Austin's 11 receptions were one shy of the school record of 12, held by five different players.