That's when Smith - or someone - blocked the kick and saved this from becoming a four-hour game. It also restored at least some faith in WVU's special teams.
"We keep working on it. We work on the same things every week,'' Holgorsen said. "There's nothing wrong with the schemes. It's about getting fired up and playing together as a team. We just kept working on it.''
After faulting his team's effort in losses to Syracuse and Louisville two of the last three weeks, Holgorsen couldn't stop raving about it Saturday.
"It's not as much about what we did or didn't do on offense,'' he said before repeating the same refrain regarding defense and special teams. "It's about how much energy we played with, which has kind of been the theme of the week.''
Still, there were specific offensive and defensive accomplishments. On offense, quarterback Geno Smith completed 29-of-43 passes for 372 yards as Tavon Austin and Bailey combined for 15 catches and 230 yards. The Mountaineers couldn't run the ball at all most of the day (32 carries for 32 yards), but they also didn't make glaring mistakes, save for the inordinate number of procedure and holding penalties. WVU turned the ball over just once, that on a disputed fumble by Dustin Garrison that instigated one of the six replay reviews that annoyingly and repeatedly stopped the game.
There were also some huge plays on defense. Keith Tandy had an interception, broke up a key third-down pass late and was the major force in stopping Collaros at the goal line in the first quarter that capped a goal-line stand despite two WVU penalties.
Najee Goode had a monster game, although one of his biggest plays - he sacked Legaux, stripped the ball and then recovered it late in the game - was overturned on review. He was the one who sacked Collaros at his own goal line, knocking him out of the game and beginning a play in which Bruce Irvin stripped the ball and Miller pounced on it for a touchdown.
In the end, though, Holgorsen might have been right about effort being the difference. In a game with so many stops and starts and swings of momentum, it would have been easy to lose focus. But unlike the losses to Syracuse and Louisville, the Mountaineers never did.
"I think it's just good karma,'' said Geno Smith. "We've worked so hard and didn't get down on ourselves. The things we've gone through this season have kind of toughened us up I guess.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com.