BALTIMORE, Md. — Some losses contain points of optimism. Others are complete washouts.
Postgame visits with nose guard Shaq Rowell, defensive end Will Clarke and safety Darwin Cook—three seniors who had never experienced a loss to Maryland until Saturday—conveyed that West Virginia’s embarrassment extended far beyond its puny, turnover-plagued offense.
“Nothing,” responded Rowell when asked what positives WVU’s defense could derive from its 37-0 beatdown.
The Terps’ first touchdown drive covered only 24 yards after a Ronald Carswell fumbled punt. The Terps’ second touchdown drive covered a mere 6 yards after a Ford Childress interception. In between, cornerback A.J. Hendy’s pick-six interception accounted for another score. Those hardly were the fault of the defense. But unlike the Week 2 setback at Oklahoma, from which Rowell and his teammates plucked omens of encouragement, this loss carried a completely deflating tone.
“It was a disgrace to West Virginia and the 1.8 million people,” he said. “We beat this team seven times in a row, and they came out ready to play today and whipped our ass. Period. Point-blank.
“They talked trash in the media and they backed it up today. They just came out and beat our butt on all three sides of the ball today.”
Never mind that Maryland compiled 21 fewer yards (330) than it did in last season’s loss in Morgantown. Or that the Terps averaged a mere 2.4 yards per carry, about one-third their season average.
“I’m sure there’s things on film we can pinpoint out that we did well, but with a loss, I don’t see anything good,” Clarke said.
As the team prepared to board a bus outside M&T Bank Stadium, Clarke guessed that some players would spend the four-hour ride home watching game video on their iPads. Losses so startling and one-sided tend to spark teams into fix-it mode.
“We’ve got to rebuild,” Clarke said. “We can’t let the season go downhill. It’s only Game 4. We’ve got eight more guaranteed games left.”
Beyond those guaranteed eight? Perhaps a lower-tier bowl game if things are remedied, or an early winter if things aren’t. Embarrassing defeats against the likes of Maryland don’t bode well for WVU playing through the holidays.
“We were in the right mindset coming in, and everything felt good,” said Cook, who had no pregame intuition WVU would fall so flat. “But a lot of things went bad today.”