MORGANTOWN -- The bad news for West Virginia is Saturday's game had the third-smallest crowd in the 34-year history of Mountaineer Field.
And perhaps that's the good news, too, because only 33,735 saw the school's first losing team since 2001 waste a 31-7 lead and fall to Iowa State, 52-44, in three overtimes.
"Obviously, a disappointing end to the game and a disappointing end to a disappointing season," Coach Dana Holgorsen said. "That's the best way I can sum that one up."
The only smaller crowds since the stadium opened in 1980 were when 27,751 watched a win against Louisiana Tech in November 1992 and when 32,597 saw a win against Bowling Green in September 1991.
The Mountaineers led 17-0 in their most productive first quarter of the season and 31-7 late in the highest-scoring half of the season. It was a 38-21 lead when receiver Mario Alford submitted the longest play of the season, a 76-yard touchdown reception, with 13:42 left to play.
"Then it seemed like just about everything that could have gone wrong went wrong," linebacker Doug Rigg said.
The Cyclones, a two-win outfit entering the game with the wins coming against teams with a combined six victories, ripped off a touchdown, a field goal and a touchdown, that with a minute left in regulation.
WVU did its part to help. It began when punter Kirby Van Der Kamp scampered 21 yards on a fake on fourth-and-17 at WVU's 21-yard line on the first drive, which ended with a 62-yard touchdown pass to Quenton Bundrage.
Then came killer turnovers on back-to-back possessions. Receiver Vernon Davis was hit and lost a fumble at his 26 to set up a 31-yard field goal and receiver Kevin White couldn't hang onto a pass that was intercepted at the 24 and set up a 19-yard touchdown catch by Justin Campbell to force overtime.
Davis and White both had first downs before their turnovers.
A season that ended with back-to-back losses to Kansas and Iowa State arrived at the official conclusion when quarterback Clint Trickett threw short of the goal line in the third overtime to Daikiel Shorts for a three-yard gain when the Mountaineers (4-8, 2-7 Big 12) needed five yards to reach the end zone.
WVU kicked field goals on the first two overtime possessions.
"We had what I thought were two good weeks of practice to get these guys in position to send them out right and I thought everyone involved did care and did play with effort," Holgorsen said. "I thought we had an issue with that two weeks ago, as I made that known, but I don't think that was it (Saturday). The bottom line is you can't turn the ball over like we did and win."
Trickett, who missed the Kansas game with a concussion, started and completed 21 of 37 passes for 356 yards and two scores, but also two interceptions. Alford caught eight passes for 215 yards. Running back Charles Sims carried 24 times for 149 yards and two scores.
Of the 568 yards of offense, WVU ran for 212 yards, but only eight in the fourth quarter and the overtimes.