MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- The weather was awful and the audience was lukecold on an afternoon that belonged in the fall and not for Saturday's annual spring game.
The highly hyped West Virginia offense was corrupted throughout the Gold-Blue Game by the mostly mysterious defense.
That, coupled with the final score - a 43-34 win for the defenders in blue - sent the 10,000 or so walking out of Mountaineer Field and into the interminable summer wondering exactly what to think about what they'd seen.
After all, wasn't the offense, the one that torched Clemson for nine touchdowns in the Orange Bowl, back and alleged to be better? Wasn't that defense new and unfamiliar and only a fraction of what it's supposed to be come Sept. 1 and the season-opener against Marshall?
Believe it or not, it was a pretty good day for the Mountaineers. The players and the coaches part ways for a while and enter a rare period of solitude, but they have plenty to think about now.
Coach Dana Holgorsen's offense, congratulated to the border of coddled since the Orange Bowl, has rendezvoused with reality. The defense, still in its infancy and still an uncertainty, has plenty of momentum to sustain through what comes next.
Now, to be fair, the game and the result deserve some elaboration. WVU's offense looked good early when it was in the form it figures to take onto the field most Saturday's in the fall. Those Mountaineers also were 6-for-6 in the red zone with four touchdowns. That statistic, more than any other, will define success for the offense and the defense in the Big 12.
There were too many drops, stalls and turnovers (four) - and the defense turned the offense over 40 times in 12 spring practices in pads, so that's a credit to the defense.
And that defense? Well, it was almost clairvoyant at times and, in the midst of the 15th and final practice, knew many of the offense's watered-down play calls and checks. Yet it also had five sacks and seven stops and did a good job confusing the offense.
Really, it was the byproduct of seeing WVU's offense throughout the spring.
The defense was familiar, but also improved and Holgorsen has been saying for more than a week now that the defense is surging and getting the better of the offense.
Things will change, though, and the biggest change will be that the offense will become better because it's going to look different the next time you see it. Here's a raw truth about college football in the spring:
"We're playing with a whole bunch of people who won't be playing in games," Holgorsen said. "The guys in there? If we're playing with them in the fall, we're not going to win."
No need to name names, but check out a box score, remember how the quality of play deteriorated after a certain point, witness an offensive line with tackles at guards and guards at tackle and center and you know what he means.