SYRACUSE, N.Y. - There really is no way to quantify how poorly West Virginia played Friday night in losing 49-23 to Syracuse at the Carrier Dome.
It was so bad that no area could possibly escape criticism.
"They completely dominated us on all sides,'' coach Dana Holgorsen said. "There won't be any finger pointing. This was a team loss.''
It was also a sloppy one. In addition to the otherwise crippling offensive and defensive lapses, there were also penalties. There were only five called against WVU for 37 yards, but two of them in the first half were absolutely critical.
First, nose guard Jorge Wright jumped offsides on a third-and-5 play when it appeared Syracuse might be headed for a three-and-out and its second punt on its second possession. It gave SU a free first down and eventually the Orange scored a touchdown.
Later in the half, West Virginia stopped Syracuse on a third-down play and would have forced a field goal try. But Bruce Irvin apparently got his hand or glove stuck in a lineman's jersey and was so animated about getting it out that he was whistled for an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty. That also led to a touchdown and a 14-3 lead.
Strike those two penalties and perhaps Syracuse would not have gained so much early confidence and momentum.
But that was the only what-if about this lopsided rout.
That West Virginia was dominated on the line of scrimmage is not even open for debate.