WACO, Texas - West Virginia was beaten in record-smashing fashion Saturday night, there is no question about it.
A 73-42 loss to No. 17 Baylor was a nightmare in almost every regard, not the least of which is that for the second time in three games the Mountaineers were flat out embarrassed.
There is, however, at least one consideration that makes this defeat just slightly more palatable than a 37-0 loss to Maryland two weeks ago. Unlike the Terps - who would go on to lose 63-0 to Florida State - Baylor seems like the real deal.
"We got beat by a great team,'' nose tackle Shaq Rowell said. "I think Baylor's going to win the Big 12 this year.''
Well, that remains to be seen. The Bears, after all, have eight more league games, WVU being their conference opener. But Baylor (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) certainly has all the parts to make life similarly miserable for a lot of teams.
"There's probably a lot of things we had to do - coaches and players and all involved - that we didn't do. We didn't put our best foot forward,'' WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said. "With that said, I would recommend giving Baylor some credit. I've never seen a team establish the line of scrimmage like they did.''
Indeed, for all of the Bears' high-flying, quick-striking acrobatics on offense and lockdown defense on the back end, where Baylor might be most impressive is up front on both sides of the ball. Add to that all those skill players and maybe the best team speed in the game, and it's a deadly mix.
"We've been pretty proud of the way we've been playing defense around here for the last five games, but you can't play defense when the line of scrimmage is five yards backwards every time they ran the ball," Holgorsen said.
Ditto the flip side. When West Virginia tried to run the ball, the line of scrimmage was moved five yards too, but in the other direction. As a result, Baylor ran 62 times, gained 468 yards and averaged 7.5 yards per rush. WVU ran 34 times and gained just 118 yards, averaging 3.5 yards.
"They're running the ball better,'' Holgorsen said of the difference between Baylor 2012 and 2013. "Last year Baylor hit some big plays on us [in a 70-63 WVU win]. This year they ran the ball right at us. They're better than they were last year on all three sides of the ball.''
It seems like a good bet that Clint Trickett will become the first three-game starter at quarterback when West Virginia resumes its schedule a week from Saturday against Texas Tech.
Trickett had an awful night passing - 9-for-28 for 161 yards - was replaced a couple of times in the first quarter and then for good in the fourth by Paul Millard, had even more communication problems with Holgorsen and was battered by the Baylor defense all night.
But he still seems to be WVU's best option.