West Virginia Mountaineers
(3-0, 1-2 ATS)
(3-0, 2-1 ATS)
Top 25 teams meet for the first time in their school histories in the Bayou on Saturday night when the West Virginia Mountaineers try to pull the college football upset against the LSU Tigers.
The ‘Neers have one tremendous question to answer in this game. Is QB Geno Smith ready for this type of a challenge? If he isn’t, they may as well not bother showing up, because the Bayou feeds off of weak competitors and exploits them, especially at night. If the answer is yes though, this is a squad that is good enough to win this game. Smith is showing signs of improvement every week, but this is a test like he has never faced before and won’t face in the Big East, save perhaps against Pittsburgh’s defense. The Tigers are big, fast, and mean on defense, and they are going to shake the young quarterback quite a bit. He has kept his composure so far this season, throwing for 800 yards and seven scores against just one pick. RB Noel Devine is going to be key. Not only has Devine been great on the ground this year, picking up 354 yards and two TDs, but he is also a great option in the passing game, where he has 13 catches for 89 yards. If these two can keep their heads on straight, HC Bill Stewart knows that his 13th ranked defense can handle the LSU offense.
That offense for the Tigers is struggling mightily once again this year. The unit only ranks 90th in the nation at 323.0 yards per game and has only put 28.7 points per game on the board. QB Jordon Jefferson hasn’t done much of note this year, throwing for 344 yards and two scores against two picks. Instead, it has been RB Steven Ridley that has had to pave the way on offense. He has 318 yards on 55 carries this year, an average of 5.8 YPC. The key for the Bayou Bengals is going to be bringing that defense to life at night under the lights. So far this year, if you take out the fourth quarter of the North Carolina game, the Tigers have only allowed an astounding 13 points. That would easily make them the best scoring defense in the land. As it is, LSU ranks 25th in the country in total defense at 279.7 yards per game and sixth in scoring at 11.3 points per game. This ‘D’ recorded five picks last week against a shaky MSU offense which has two young quarterbacks. LSU will be out for more turnovers this week while trying to rush to Smith with just its front four quite often.
This could be a game that isn’t for the faint of heart, that’s for certain. LSU has as stingy of a defense as there is in the country, while West Virginia’s unit isn’t full of slackers either. The key is Smith. Will he be able to beat the noise in the jungle known as Tiger Stadium? If he can even remotely temper the crowd and find a way just to generate a few first downs here and there, West Virginia will score enough points to, if nothing else, keep in front of this hefty number.
Selection: West Virginia Mountaineers +10