The West Virginia offensive tempo was bad. Kickoff coverage was bad.
Mountaineer coach Dana Holgorsen kept calling for the fade. Unfortunately for him, he got it. From his team. Odds are, West Virginia will now fade out of the Top 25 rankings. And it's an ugly blemish in these times of conference talk.
Holgorsen seemed to make a gutsy call to keep his team in the game. On a third-and-just-short-of-9 situation, he checked his notes and signaled for a Shawne Alston run up the gut. He almost got the first down. Then he got it on the next try. Alston scored on Try 3. WVU had climbed within 21-16.
But it was like - can this even be typed? - West Virginia's performance against LSU. After clawing back, the dam broke on the Mountaineers.
Another fine play by Graham, the star of the game, set Syracuse up on the ensuing kickoff. He ran the ball back to the SU 49. West Virginia eventually gave up a touchdown to David Stevens, who - the public address announcer made it known - was chalking up not only his first touchdown of the season, but the first of his career. Stevens, it should be noted, didn't appear on the Syracuse two-deep depth chart. And he's a senior.
The theory it was just another Mountaineer slow start was washed away like dirt in a gully after a hard rain.
WVU played slowly, listlessly. Syracuse played with verve. Keep in mind, Syracuse entered the game last in the Big East in total defense. The Mountaineer defense, meanwhile, helped make quarterback Ryan Nassib look like Aaron Rodgers. Once, on a third-and-8, Nassib zipped a pass to a kid (I'm not playing with WVU fans here) named Jarrod West. He beat Mountaineer defensive back Brantwon Bowser.
Oh, and after Stevens' wide-open touchdown? Those in charge of the Dome decided to played the theme to "Deliverance."
That's correct. A cultural slap on top of the one being carried out on the field.
At game's end, after WVU's Stedman Bailey had looked away and dropped a pass in his hands, the crowd chanted "over-rated" during an injury timeout.
Unfortunately for the guests, though, that was the least embarrassing moment of the evening.
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, mitchvin...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.