When it comes to the West Virginia University football team the general consensus amongst the coaches and players was that this team is very close to getting where it needs to be.
A narrow victory over William and Mary, a game filled with miscues against Oklahoma and then a dominant showing against Georgia State showed the progression of the team nicely. It appeared the Mountaineers were poised to finally get things to click against a tough Maryland team. Evidently that was not the case.
Instead of a step in the right direction, the Mountaineers took a big step in the wrong direction. The Mountaineers were shut out against Maryland 37-0. Their performance was anything but a positive one.
"They flat out beat us," said defensive end Shaq Rowell. "We got our butts kicked, that's all." Rowell was very outspoken after the team's embarrassing lost during post-game interviews. Rowell truly understood just how bad his team looked.
Quarterback Ford Childress looks to be the guy for the Mountaineers going forward. After his big day against Georgia State it appeared he was the right choice too. However, Childress didn't do much of anything against Maryland. Childress was 11 for 22 for a mere 62 yards and threw two interceptions as well.
Despite his pitiful efforts, it's become clear that head coach Dana Holgorsen still wishes to proceed with Childress as his starting quarterback. After a miserable first half for Childress against Maryland, no change at quarterback came during the second half. That right there said a lot about how Holgorsen feels about Childress.
It's very frustrating to see the Mountaineers regress after showing they really are capable of being a good football team. The little things still plague the team time, and time again.
"[A] bunch of miscommunication between quarterback to offensive line, offensive line to offensive line," offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said. "We're not in any rhythm."
These kinds of miscues come when you have a redshirt freshman at the helm but they need to be drastically minimized. These miscommunications between players, special team blunders and tempo issues can fly against teams like Georgia State but when big-time teams like Oklahoma State, who rolls into town this week, the Mountaineers can't afford to make these errors.
Even though this loss to Maryland was a disaster, there is a small positive to come out of this beat-down. That positive is motivation. When a team gets whooped like that you can only hope it fuels the team to get their act together and possess a hungrier mentality.
A loss like this made running back Dreamius Smith hungrier for a better week. "[It] brings us up even more," said Smith. "[The Maryland game] didn't go the way we wanted it to go." "We're going to figure out individually what we can do to make this team better," Smith added.
The entire Mountaineer team will need to bring in the same mindset as Smith. The Mountaineers have to face a great Oklahoma Sate team come Saturday. Oklahoma State is the eleventh ranked team in the nation and brings in one of the fastest tempos college football has to offer.
The defense will have their hands full with not only the tempo but with quarterback J.W. Walsh who can beat you with his arm and his legs. Walsh will certainly present the Mountaineers with a challenge.
The beauty about the Big 12 is that a team can bounce back against a strong team like Oklahoma State and be right in the hunt. The Mountaineers only have one loss in Big 12 play; a win over number 11 Oklahoma State would put the team back on track.
"I promise we're never going to quit," said Dawson.
The Mountaineers have a tall order ahead of them but will look to meet the challenge as they go against Oklahoma State this Saturday at Mountaineer Field.