MORGANTOWN -- The script was similar for West Virginia football and the expectations are no different now than they were a year ago.
The Mountaineers must hope it's the ultimate outcome that changes.
A year ago, WVU fell behind LSU 17-0, but had the ball at the Tigers 30-yard line in the fourth quarter down 20-14 and with a chance to take the lead and, maybe, win the game.
Neither team scored and LSU won, but the Mountaineers walked away knowing they hung around longer than they deserved to with the many mistakes they made. If those errors hadn't occurred, they said they might have won. If those errors wouldn't occur the rest of the way, they said they couldn't be beaten.
That WVU team was 3-1, but sure looked like it could win the Big East based on the way it coped with itself, the opponent and the environment that one night on the bayou.
Skip ahead a year. The Tigers led 13-0, 20-7 and then 27-7 Saturday, but the Mountaineers rallied again and made it 27-21 late in the third quarter. They were about to kickoff and, if they could get a stop, who knows, maybe they win the game.
Then came the decisive 99-yard kickoff return touchdown by LSU, just one item on the list of errors the Mountaineers made and again felt contributed to the 47-21 defeat. On cue, here comes the notion WVU is good enough to beat anyone in the Big East after the way it battled itself and the Tigers and still had a chance.
The 2010 Mountaineers finished the regular season 9-3 and lost to teams that, had you asked anyone that September, they had no business losing to.
Where will these Mountaineers go?
"Time will tell on that," Coach Dana Holgorsen said. "We were a disappointed football team (Saturday) night and (Sunday)."
It's not often a team, to say nothing of WVU, rings up 533 yards of offense against an opponent that would one day later become the top team in the nation. It's not often that productivity is a footnote because so many other things went wrong.
Understand LSU had a whole lot to do with those things, be it the four turnovers, the 10 penalties, the bad kickoff return coverage or the indecision on punt returns. The Tigers made a lot of stuff happen and you're not going to see a better player make better plays then Tyrann Mathieu did on his forced and recovered fumble and then his interception.
That is, undoubtedly, a very good, very talented football team, one that is going to beat teams as good and better than the Mountaineers the rest of the way, a team that might not get a battle quite as fierce as the one the Mountaineers provided for parts of their game.
Yet understand that was a game that got away from WVU, too. It was in doubt just twice, first when it was 0-0 and then when the LSU found itself ahead just 27-21. The Tigers controlled the time immediately after both.