LSU Football: Can West Virginia Defeat The Tigers In Death Valley?

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LSU Football: Can West Virginia Defeat The Tigers In Death Valley?
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Mike VI LSU's Live Mascot

Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge is known as "Death Valley" to rival foes that come in to play The LSU Tigers.  It has earn the reputation of being the toughest place to play a college football game especially on Saturday night.

Earlier this week, a panel of Sports Experts on ESPNU had a round table discussion about which place was the toughest place to play a college football game, and LSU's Tiger Stadium or "Death Valley" was chosen hands down as the toughest place to play. 

There were eight panelist and seven said that LSU's Death Valley is the toughest place to play if you are a foe of the LSU Tigers. The other dissenting panelist said he had never been to Death Valley as either a coach or player, but he did admit that he had heard lot about Tiger Stadium's reputation. 

One of the panelist, David Pollock, the former University of Georgia Bulldog, said Tiger Stadium was the toughest place he has ever played in without a doubt. 

Pollock went on to say that every thing begins with the rocking the bus when they first arrive, then the Student section greets you with some very choice words, and finally "Mike (live Bengal Tiger) The Tiger" is waiting to greet you at the visiting players gate as the teams come out for the game. 

This Saturday night, the West Virginia Mountaineers will come to play the LSU" Fightn Tigers" in LSU Death Valley for the first time in history.  The Mountaineers  will experience an atmosphere unlike any other atmosphere they have encountered before, and the question is how will they handle this crowd.

Irregardless of the Death Valley crowd, it will be that talented and Speedy LSU defense that will present the most problems for the West Virginia Mountaineers Offense.  

To make matters worse for WVU, Coach Les Miles is in his sixth year as LSU's coach and he has only lost one game on Saturday night in Tiger Stadium and that was to the Florida Gators.  

There has been only one other team that has defeated LSU in Tiger Stadium under Coach Miles and that was the Alabama Crimson Tide in an overtime daytime game.

The Tigers record in Death Valley under coach Les Miles is 20-2. 

WVU is 3-0 against  Coastal Carolina, Marshall, and Maryland so far  in 2010. They had to come from behind to beat Marshall University, which is a team that was totally destroyed by Ohio State the week before. 

Even though they are averaging 446 yards per game in total offense, one has to take into account the softer schedule the Mountaineers have played. 

Contrastingly LSU opened their season in the Chick Fil-A Kick off game in Atlanta, Georgia against the 18th ranked University of North Carolina Tar Heels.  

LSU then followed with two straight SEC games against Vanderbilt and Mississippi State, which are two teams that are young and talent but with very good defenses.  LSU won both of those SEC games handily.

Despite the fact that LSU has struggled mightily in the passing game, their rushing attack as been churning out some nice yards.

In the game last weekend against Mississippi State the Tigers finally showed signs that the LSU quarterback, Jordan Jefferson has started to develop his game and he showed much more confident with good decision making.

If the LSU offense can continue where they left off last week with Jefferson, they will present a balanced attach to West Virginia and that will stretch the Mountaineer defense.

The Tigers have an awesome receiving corp , and if Jefferson is able to make the necessary throws LSU will be tough to handle.

Let's look at some statistical comparison:

 Offense                                             LSU                       West Virginia

Rushing Offense                                  609                             538

Passing Attempts                            34-58-2                        74-103-2

Passing Yards                                     360                             800

Total Offensive Plays                            183                             243

Total Touchdowns Scored                        9                               10

Total Field Goals made                            7                                5

Total Offense                                      969                           1338

 

Defense                                             LSU                       West Virginia

Rushing Yards Allowed                         241                            188

Total Sacks                                           12                               8

Total Passing Yards Allowed                  598                            579

Total Passes Intercepted                     5-106 yds                      1-0 yds.

 

Special Teams                                     LSU                       West Virginia                     

 Kick Off Yardage                                  9-253 yards                 9-175 yards 

 Punt Return Yardage                            8-173 yards                  5-79 yards

 

 Even though Noel Devine is known for being a fast and elusive running back, he will be facing an LSU defense that will meet him with speed to spare. 

Example:

 * Corner back Patrick Peterson runs 4.37 40 yd dash,

 * Defensive end KeKe Mingo is 6-6 and 235 lbs and runs 4.4 40 yd dash

 * The other end is Sam Montgomery at 6-5 and 265 with a 4.5 40 yd dash.

Geno Smith, the WVU quarterback has only run for a net of 13 yards this year so I would expect him to throw the short passes to Noel Devine out of the backfield hoping he can cut up field against that Tiger defense. 

Of course he will also be looking to throw down field against LSU's corners, but with the Drake Nevis coming up the middle it will make that chore very difficult as Drake is one of the SEC Sack leaders. 

It will be very important for LSU's linebackers to stay home as much as possible to not allow this bread and butter play by WVU.

All in all I think "Death Valley" will make it very tough on the West Virginia Mountaineers and their plans to upset the 15th ranked LSU Tigers.  

 look for LSU's offense to finally open up and control the game and the defense will show WVU a defense they have not seen at anytime.  

LSU 31 WVU 14   

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