GameDay traveling to Morgantown for crucial battle
Published: Thursday, September 22, 2011
Updated: Sunday, September 25, 2011 20:09
National Title implications:
No. 16 West Virginia hosts No. 2 LSU Saturday at 8 p.m. in one of the biggest matchups so far this season. If the Mountaineers can use energy from the home crowd and pull off the upset, it will clear the way for the rest of its Big East schedule to a possible undefeated season. For LSU, this difficult road test is just another large bump in the road before it begins its stretch through the SEC.
The Tigers already conquered the likes of Oregon and Mississippi State. If they get past West Virginia, the road to the national title is in their hands. College GameDay gives West Virginia football national attention that it doesn't receive as much as other large schools around the country.
It is the first time ever that GameDay is coming to Morgantown, and the rest of the country can see how dedicated and passionate the West Virginia fans are for their football team. GameDay will broadcast at the West Virginia University Mountainlair Plaza on ESPNU from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. and on ESPN from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. College GameDay is a one of a kind experience for students all across the country.
If you're in Morgantown this weekend, make your way over the Mountainlair Plaza to catch Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit and the rest of the GameDay crew as they share their insights with the West Virginia Mountaineer nation.
What to watch for:
LSU running game: The Tigers are lead by two sophomore running backs in Spencer Ware and Michael Ford. They have combined to rush for over 220 yards and seven touchdowns on the season. They are built almost exactly the same and run with explosiveness and strength through the holes.
West Virginia defensive line: The dynamic duo of Bruce Irvin and Julian Miller that accumulated 23 sacks a season ago hasn't exactly been dominating the line of scrimmage in 2011. Irvin has the only sack for the D-line and has failed to get constant pressure on opposing quarterbacks in the team's first three games of the season. They will need to be at the top of their game against a gigantic LSU offensive line.
Quarterback play: LSU quarterback Jarrett Lee has settled into the starting role nicely after the suspension of Jordan Jefferson before the season. The senior QB has completed 67.8 percent of his passes in an offense that mostly relies on the running game, but has just three touchdowns in the three games. If he manages the game well and does not commit bad turnovers, the players around him will do the rest. For West Virginia, junior quarterback Geno Smith has looked unfazed by opposing defenses in head coach Dana Holgorsen's new system. Smith made difficult throws look easy last week at Maryland, throwing for a career-high 388 yards with a touchdown. He will need to continue that type of play against LSU's speedy defense if the Mountaineers are to escape with a win.
Special teams: Last year, LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson made a big play on a 60-yard punt return for a touchdown. This year, West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin may be that guy. The junior already has a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and a 64-yard punt return. LSU better make sure they get off their blocks because this guy is dangerous every time he touches the ball.