MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - At this point in West Virginia's season, any of a number of statistics could be used to explain the 3-5 record two-thirds of the way through the schedule.
After all, there are many ways to measure the misery for these Mountaineers.
One, none stand out in detailing WVU's problems quite like this one: Dana Holgorsen's teams have been destructively slow starters.
He's 20-14 as WVU's coach and he's been outscored 161-41 in the first quarter of the 14 losses. His teams have trailed after the first quarter in 13 of the 14 losses and have been shut out in seven of those 14 first quarters.
"It's the same old deal," said Holgorsen, who has nine losses by at least three touchdowns. "We're not doing a very good job offensively. We're not scoring. We're not finishing drives. We're not finishing blocks. We're not making people miss. We're not catching the ball down the field."
It's been pronounced this season. A 7-0 deficit at the end of the first quarter in the 35-12 loss to Kansas State Saturday pushed the season's first-quarter scoring deficit to 76-45.
In games against Football Bowl Subdivision teams this season, WVU's offense ranks No. 79 nationally with 5.4 points per first quarter, according to TeamRankings.com.
"We addressed it with the offense," Holgorsen said. "I thought (quarterback) Clint (Trickett) was very jittery at the start of the game last week, so we tried to get him some plays he was comfortable with and just run the ball a little more and give him quick passes. It didn't work."
A year ago, the Mountaineers ranked 34th, averaging 7.4 points in the first quarter. In 2011, their 6.8 first-quarter points ranked No. 41.
"It's just experience again," Holgorsen said. "I don't even really want to say it, because I've been saying it, but he just hasn't been in this offense as much as you want the guy playing to have been in the offense."
It's not entirely upon the offense or the quarterback, though. WVU's first quarter scoring defense ranks No. 112 nationally and allows 9.9 points per game against FBS opponents.
WVU doesn't recover either. The second-quarter scoring deficit is 74-46.
The Mountaineers (3-5, 1-4 Big 12) could find temporary relief or cement the trend Saturday at TCU. The Horned Frogs' first-quarter scoring offense is ranked No. 118 nationally with only 2.4 points.
The 3:30 p.m. game at Amon G. Carter Stadium will be televised by ESPNU.