COLLEGE PARK — Let's get to the important stuff first: the uniforms looked awesome.
Black helmets, black jerseys, black pants, blood-red trim — this was Maryland going for Darth Vader-like intimidation against West Virginia, only without the heavy breathing.
OK, maybe the 18th-ranked Mountaineers didn't exactly Fear the Turtle early in Saturday's game at Byrd Stadium, especially after they opened a 34-10 lead early in the third quarter.
But by the time this one was over, by the time Maryland scored three touchdowns to make it 34-31 with 10:29 left and the crowd of 53,627 on its feet and howling for an upset, West Virginia knew it was in a ballgame.
Oh, was that a gutty comeback by the Terrapins under threatening overcast skies here.
Sure, they ended up losing 37-31. Sure, they fall to 1-1 on the season after that 32-24 win over Miami in the season-opener that did so much to energize the fan base.
But this was the kind of stirring comeback against a top-tier program that just missed being the stuff of legend.
Three straight Maryland touchdowns late in the third quarter and early in the fourth?
A 20-yard scoring run by Davin Meggett with 4:40 left in the third? A 6-yard touchdown run by D. J. Adams moments later. And a 2-yard touchdown run, again by Adams, to pull the Terps to within three points?
How do you not take some solace — if not some inspiration — from that if you're the Terps?
Sure, a loss is a loss. But don't some losses sting less than others?
Of course, first-year Maryland coach Randy Edsall, who is wound tighter than piano wire, didn't exactly see it that way.
Or at least he wouldn't admit it to the media.
"I'm very disappointed in the outcome of the game," he said, looking properly drained and agitated, the losing coach right out of central casting. "I thought we made too many errors out there. Had a chance to win the ballgame at the end, didn't get it done.
"There are things we gotta work on every week. But I'm very disappointed we didn't come out on top, because that's what we shooting for."
Two observations about this game: No. 1, at the risk of beating to death the obvious, Danny O'Brien had a rough day for Maryland.
The sophomore quarterback was 34-for-52 for 289 yards and touchdown. But he also had three picks, including the crusher with the Terps driving late in the game down 37-31.
O'Brien is super-talented and will do great things for this program by the time he leaves. But Saturday he was even more disconsolate than Edsall.
"You can't turn the ball over three times at the quarterback position and expect to beat a ranked team," O'Brien said. "That's really what it comes down to. I felt like the line did great and we ran the ball well. But you just can't turn the ball over."
In fairness to O'Brien, he might have been pressing because Maryland was playing without two of its best wide receivers, seniors Ronnie Tyler and Quintin McCree.
Both have been suspended indefinitely, apparently for knucklehead behavior. The cops said Tyler punched a man near an off-campus 7-Eleven. And McCree was with Tyler, police said, although it's unclear exactly why he was suspended.
Edsall, you'll be shocked to know, wasn't talking about the incident. But he also rejected the notion that it played any part in the Terps' loss.
"Missing the two wide receivers didn't mean a thing," he said. "What happened was we turned the ball over. Once we started to spread the ball around, we were better. Those are the things we always have to do. For us to be successful, we have to utilize everyone out there regardless of who is on the field for us."
Which leads me to Observation No. 2: this Maryland hurry-up offense is fun to watch.
It's not as polished or as crisp as West Virginia's under new coach Dana Holgorsen. The Mountaineers send three, four and five receivers out on every play from a variety of sets. And they look like they can score from everywhere, including the concession stands.
(One of those receivers, in fact, is former Dunbar All-Metro running back Tavon Austin, who caught 11 passes for 122 yards and returned six kickoffs for another 121 yards. Is this kid a Terps killer or what? Remember, he lit them up last year, too, scoring two touchdowns when the Mountaineers won 31-17 at Morgantown.)
But the Terps were almost just as exciting. They ran 87 plays for 477 yards just two weeks after running 78 plays for 499 yards against Miami.
Last year, by comparison, they averaged 63 plays per game. And the Mountaineer defense seemed to wear down late Saturday, unable to get fresh players on the field in key situations.
In the end, if you listen to Edsall, it didn't matter. The Terps still lost. They fall to 1-1. They go into next week's game against Temple looking to prove themselves all over again.
But it didn't feel like just another loss to a lot of us. Not after a comeback like that.
This felt like a game the Terps could build on.
Listen to Kevin Cowherd Tuesday at 7:20 a.m. on 105.7 The Fan's "Norris and Davis Show."