WVU got its first real glimpse of how tough its going to be to win in those type of games Saturday in its 37-27 loss to Texas Tech.
Head coach Dana Holgorsen said Monday on the Big 12 coaches teleconference that he saw his team play well enough to be in position to win. But West Virginia just wasn't able to play at that level for four quarters.
"We did have a very good week of practice, it just didn't translate in the fourth quarter," Holgorsen said. "We played winning football for three quarters, we were in position to win it, and then in the fourth quarter, when the game kept getting tighter, they were a little more confident than we were."
Following Saturday's loss, defensive coordinator Keith Patterson said he felt the team was still reeling a bit from the devastating 73-42 loss to Baylor two weeks before. And Holgorsen agreed that a defeat like that can take a toll on a team if it doesn't come ready to play and isn't confident in itself when the next games rolls around.
"Confidence is a hard thing to build, and when you get it shattered by Baylor, it's hard to get it back," he said. "That's what we've got to do as coaches, and our approach last week was to get them away from it - hoping that would build their confidence and get them excited."
As the Mountaineers enter the final five games of the season, it does appear they will have a quarterback set for the first time in a few weeks, as Holgorsen said that junior Clint Trickett will likely be his man under center for the foreseeable future.
In his third-consecutive start Saturday, Trickett completed 27 of his 43 pass attempts for 254 yards and a score against the Red Raiders. The Florida State transfer has 724 yards and three touchdown passes on the season.
"He played his best game - just not a winning performance," Holgorsen said.
"He's healthy and he'll be able to rep Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, which is the first time he's been able to do that in quite some time. We'll give him the majority of the reps and continue to try to get him better."
Despite the loss, Holgorsen saw a handful of positives to take from his team's performance against Texas Tech.
But he knows there's room to improve, and it's not going to get any easier going down the stretch.
"We made progress. I think everybody would agree with that," he said. "We made some things happen, moved the ball, scored some points and got the ball in the end zone several times."
"It's just every week. It doesn't matter who you're playing. Every week is going to be a challenge."