But from a professional standpoint, it probably couldn't have gone worse.
Human nature hints at DeForest's likely dream, a dominant shutout that shocked his former employers and silenced the Boone Pickens Stadium crowd.
But in reality, with the offensive talent on one side and the lack of it on the other, that was never possible.
Instead, DeForest's biggest impact on this game, ironically, may have come on the Cowboys side.
Justin Gilbert, the speedy return man who DeForest helped recruit and develop, took a West Virginia kick back to the house.
Quinn Sharp, the bionic-legged All-American who DeForest introduced to college football three years ago, booted punts and drilled kicks all afternoon.
“Yeah, I visited with (Sharp) before the game,” DeForest said. “He's a great kid. And a special player.”
DeForest didn't want to dwell on the loss, a life-goes-on kind of moment. The reunion was bittersweet, a “tough situation” but “ultimately just the next game on the schedule,” as he called it.
But as he grabbed the postgame dinner provided by team officials, readied for a quick bus ride and flight out of celebratory Stillwater, he took his last look around the familiar Gallagher-Iba halls and exhaled with one reflective breath.
“It really was great to see everybody,” DeForest said. “But it would have been great to see them and beat him.”