Game Night: WVU vs. LSU

Getting set for arguably the biggest non-conference game in the history of Mountaineer Field as #2 LSU is in town.   
Just the facts:
It is certainly a rare trip for an LSU team to this portion of the country.   The last time the Tigers played a current member of the Big East other than WVU was the 1989 Hall of Fame Bowl as Syracuse beat LSU 23-10.
The 2011 Tigers have allowed an average of just 12 points, 47.7 rushing yards and 207.7 total yards per game.   The Tigers defense has allowed just two plays of 20+ yards in three games.    Both of those plays came late in the Mississippi State win after the contest was decided. The game in Starkville, the contest against then #3 Oregon in Dallas and tonight’s trip into Morgantown have provided LSU with the toughest schedule in America to date.   LSU is the only team in the country so far to face three Top-25 teams all away from home.  
If the Mountaineers can’t run the ball effectively, head coach and offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen won’t hesitate to put it up early and often.   13 times has a Holgorsen coordinated offense thrown the ball 50+ times in a single game.   Holgorsen’s teams are 9-4 in those games.  
LSU quarterback Jarrett Lee is credited with taking care of the ball since he stepped in to replace the suspended Jordan Jefferson.   Lee has thrown just one interception this year while completing 68% of his passes.   As a freshman, Lee threw 16 interceptions and seven were returned for touchdowns.     
SEC teams have a losing record against Big East Conference teams on the road.    WVU has played a part in that recently with home wins against Auburn and Mississippi State.  
–This LSU defense has allowed plays of 20+ yards just twice all season.  Both came in garbage time in the MIssissippi State game.  The Mountaineers hit the Tigers with a 20 yard gain on the first play from scrimmage as Geno Smith hit Stedman Bailey on a slant. 
–Vernard Roberts gets the start at tailback for WVU.
–On the first third down play for LSU on offense, Lee used the height advantage of 6-4 Rueben Randle.   The second third down conversion was a long pass caught by true freshman Odell Beckham, Jr. who is a true freshman.   Randall then caught the touchdown pass from 11 yards out.   Two of Lee’s first three pass attempts could have been intercepted, but he made two huge throws on third down plays on the drive. 
–Mountaineers killing themselves with first quarter mistakes.  The first drive was stopped thanks to a personal foul penalty, then the 14 yard punt set up a score.   WVU had an interception in hand that they couldn’t secure and WVU’s receivers have turned the ball over twice on a fumble and on a pass off the hands.    The LSU defense has the Mountaineers rattled. 
–Key block picked up by Ryan Clarke on the touchdown pass as he stopped a blitzing linebacker giving Smith time to throw.   The Mountaineer quarterback has been flushed, hurried and knocked down, but the fullback made the block on that play.  
–Halftime stats:  It’s all about turnovers.   LSU forced three and committed zero.  The interception on the tipped ball at the end of the half took WVU’s wind.
–The Mountaineers rushed for just 39 yards on 11 carries in the first half.   Smith threw the ball 38 times.  Gerald Fisher’s school record of 57 pass attempts set in 1951 doesn’t stand a chance.
–Field position is also a big story as LSU punter Brad Wing knocked it inside the five three times in the first half.   All four of his punts landed inside the 20.   LSU’s average starting position was the 45 yard line. 
–Redshirt freshman Quinton Spain in the game for the Mountaineers in the third quarter. 
–WVU has had scoring drives of 80 and 90 yards in the second half.   The 74-yard gain to Tavon Austin was WVU’s four play of 20+ yards against the LSU defense tonight.   Again, they had not allowed a defensive play of 20 or more during a significant portion of the first three games of the season. 
–Smith has a career high 419 passing yards through three quarters. 
–The Morris Claiborne 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown was the 15th special team touchdown scored by the Tigers under head coach Les Miles.   LSU has hit the Mountaineers for a return touchdown for the second consecutive year as Patrick Peterson brought a punt back for a touchdown last year. 
–Odd play call by LSU to run the reverse when it appeared the WVU defense had been worn down.  Spencer Ware had broken several tackles on his last two runs.   The Tigers had it at the WVU 27 yard line before the eight yard loss on the ill-fated reverse. 
–Single game passing record for WVU comes at the 8:56 mark as Geno Smith breaks the mark of 429 yards previously held by Marc Bulger in the Insite.com Bowl against Missouri in 1998.  
–Shortly after that record was set, the Mountaineers turned the ball over for the fourth time.  LSU +4 in turnover margin.  And it is another very good starting point for the Tigers at the 45. 




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