MORGANTOWN - It was the wee hours of Sunday morning, just past midnight Saturday, and West Virginia was already looking forward.
And why not? It was a whole lot preferable to looking back.
"We're going to get past this. We're going to make it our job,'' quarterback Geno Smith said. "Our goal to be undefeated, that's gone down the drain. But being Big East champs and winning every game from here on out is what we have to do. And that's something I'm going to work extremely hard to do.''
Smith was talking in the wake of an evening in which he and the Mountaineers had already put in 31/2 hours of extremely hard work. In the end, though, it didn't pay off.
Yes, the Mountaineers showed what they could do offensively. They rolled up 533 yards and 28 first downs against what is on the very short list of the country's best defenses. They were a touchdown away from taking the lead, 27-21, as the third quarter was roughly 60 seconds from becoming the fourth.
And, too, Smith had what amounted to PlayStation numbers throwing the football. He was 38-for-65 for 463 yards, all school records.
But in the end, way too many mistakes were impossible to overcome. And so four turnovers and abhorrent special team play were the difference in a 47-21 loss to an LSU team that afterward moved from No. 2 to No. 1 in the Associated Press rankings.
Yes, there were encouraging signs for WVU. But a Mountaineer Field crowd of 62,056 - a record for the stadium since its luxury-box configuration in 2004 - and a prime time television audience, while wowed by Smith and Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey and the rest of the offense, also saw as plain as a high-definition replay the things the Mountaineers need to work on.
And so did Dana Holgorsen.
"It came down to two things - turnovers ... [and] they were a lot better than we are at special teams,'' West Virginia's first-year head coach said.
In other words, it's not rocket science trying to figure out what Holgorsen and the Mountaineers will work on most heading into Saturday's final non-conference game of the season, a 3:30 p.m. contest against Bowling Green (3-1) at Mountaineer Field.
"We definitely could have won the game,'' said Austin, who outdid his 11-catch, 122-yard performance against Maryland a week earlier with 11 more catches for 187 yards. "I mean, four turnovers? They had zero turnovers. If we don't turn the ball over it's a different game.''