MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- That West Virginia defense that allowed only 40 points in the first three games gave up 30 in Saturday's loss to Maryland and readies now for back-to-back games against the top-ranked and 10th-ranked scoring offenses in college football.
Yet that same defense didn't get much help in defeat.
The Terrapins scored touchdowns after four of WVU's first five turnovers - and they took three knees to end the game after the sixth. One score was an interception return touchdown, and Maryland's three other touchdown drives following a turnover were six, 24 and finally 89 yards when it was already 30-0 late in the fourth quarter.
"That last drive, I put them in tough situations blitzing and trying to make something happen," defensive coordinator Keith Patterson said following the 37-0 loss. "I wasn't worried about anything but trying to get the ball back one more time.
"I put our cornerbacks in a tough spot there. (Maryland) knew we were playing man and knew we were blitzing. I didn't care. I wasn't worried about yards. I was just trying to get the ball back for the offense."
The Mountaineers (2-2, 0-1 Big 12), who play host to No. 11 Oklahoma State (3-0) at noon Saturday at Mountaineer Field, stopped the Terrapins just once after at turnover. They'd been much better at that in the first three games. WVU's defense allowed just 10 points following six turnovers in the first three games.
William & Mary kicked a field goal after WVU's one turnover in the season-opener, and that was a 22-yard drive following a sack and fumble late in the first half. The Mountaineers then had four turnovers against Oklahoma, but the Sooners managed just one touchdown. WVU answered its final three turnovers by forcing two OU turnovers and then a punt. The only WVU turnover against Georgia State preceded a Panthers punt.
There was no such luck against the Terrapins, and Western Kentucky (15) is the only team in the country with more than WVU's 12 turnovers.
"I do think defensively we competed, but we had some chances to make something happen in the first half and we didn't," Coach Dana Holgorsen said. "We're far from a suffocating defense, but I do think we competed defensively."
The first chance followed WVU's first turnover, that being a muffed punt return by Ronald Carswell, who later waved off teammates when he let a punt hit the ground, but then fielded the punt and stood there until he was tackled.
Maryland had first-and-goal at the WVU 6-yard line when quarterback C.J. Brown didn't see an open receiver in the corner and instead threw over the middle.