LSU defense presents a test for West Virginia
College Football Videos
MORGANTOWN, W.VA. — West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen reluctantly watched last Thursday as LSU handled Mississippi State on the road.
Though he watched as a spectator rather than as a coach, it was clear that LSU's defense is as good this season as it is almost every year.
"It doesn't matter how many seniors they had last year, especially defensively, they'll just replace them with guys who are every bit as good," Holgorsen said.
When LSU comes Saturday to Morgantown, West Virginia's offense will go toe-to-toe with one of the best defenses in the country.
"They're good, talented and rarely out of position," Holgorsen said. "We're going to have to throw to receivers that are covered and run into people that are filling gaps."
The Tigers' defense has been dominant through the first three weeks. LSU is allowing just 12 points and 207.7 yards per game, which ranks No. 15 and sixth, respectively, in the nation.
On 36 possessions this season, the Tigers' defense has forced either a three-and-out or a turnover 19 times. It also hasn't allowed a touchdown in eight consecutive quarters.
West Virginia's offense has relied on big plays to score this year, but LSU hasn't yielded many. Only two plays have gone for more than 20 yards against its defense this season, and both came late against Mississippi State.
"They are wherever the ball is," Holgorsen said. "They get there really fast, and they're pretty impressive once they get there. You can study their personnel all you want to, but they're all capable of making plays."
WVU center Joe Madsen added: "You watch the film, and there's at least eight guys going to the ball every time."
Holgorsen's offense relies on tempo to be effective, but LSU already has proven it can handle that type of attack. The Tigers held Oregon's offense in check through the game's first three quarters.
"We don't go faster than Oregon," Holgorsen said. "Oregon goes faster than anyone in the country. They handled their tempo just fine."
The strength of the defense is on the line. The starters up front have accounted for 11 1⁄2 tackles for loss and three sacks this season and have allowed just 47.7 rushing yards per game, which ranks third in the country.
It's another strong start for a traditionally deep, talented unit. Since 2003, six LSU defensive linemen have been named as first-team All-Americans, and 12 have been NFL draft picks.
Still, West Virginia's offensive line is experienced and improving. Three of the five starters played in last year's game, when LSU didn't register a sack against the Mountaineers.
The WVU line knows what to expect Saturday night.
"The whole defense plays hard," left guard Jeff Braun said. "They have a swagger about them that you can see on film. We just have to match that intensity."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Police: Escaped Armstrong County inmate armed, dangerous homicide suspect
- Pirates’ Burnett endures another poor start in blowout loss to Reds
- Steelers’ reserve quarterbacks vie to secure spot behind Roethlisberger, Gradkowski
- Pirates bolster bullpen by trading for former closer Soria
- Inside the Steelers: Rookie linebacker Chickillo continues to excel
- Warrant issued for man accused of killing Brookline woman
- Steelers stress improved conditioning in attempt to play past injuries
- Pirates notebook: Blanton introduced; Worley designated for assignment
- Emails among Governor Wolf’s aides reveal concern over AG Kane
- Traded after Stanley Cup, Saad not alone in being dealt after title
- Memories of Steelers fan from Beaver Falls go beyond simple recall