WVU vs. LSU Game Recap - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

WVU vs. LSU Game Recap


A quick start by No. 2 LSU was too much for No. 16 West Virginia to overcome as the Mountaineers fell to their counterparts 47-21 Saturday night.

"We got beat by a good football team," West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen said. "They are going to find ways to win. They were a smarter football team then we are."

A crowd of 62,056 created one of the loudest atmospheres ever at Milan Puskar Stadium.

However, LSU was able to take the electric home crowd out of the game early.

Following a punt on West Virginia's first possession, LSU quarterback Jarrett Lee got the Tigers on the scoreboard first. Lee found wide receiver Rueben Randle for an 11-yard touchdown pass, giving the visitors an early 7-0 lead. 

Turnovers were the story for West Virginia in the first quarter and throughout the game. Two of the Mountaineers' first three possessions resulted in a turnover. A fumble by wide receiver Bradley Starks and an interception by LSU safety Brandon Taylor allowed the Tigers' offense to have great field position on multiple occasions.

The latter of the turnovers led to another LSU touchdown. Running back Michael Ford rushed up the middle for 22 yards for a touchdown, but the Tigers' extra point failed. West Virginia found itself trailing 13-0 at the end of the first quarter.

The fourth West Virginia possession showed some promise. Quarterback Geno Smith led a 12 play 73-yard drive that saw only one run play. The drive was capped off by a 20-yard touchdown reception by wide receiver Stedman Bailey, making the score 13-7.

Both teams exchanged punts before Jarrett Lee connected to wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. for a 52-yard touchdown pass.

Just before the first half ended, Geno Smith's pass was intercepted by LSU's Tyrann Mathieu and returned to the West Virginia one yard line.

"He just made a big play," Smith said. "Wish we could have had it back, but it happened and we just had to move on from that."

The Tigers were able to capitalize on the turnover and led 27-7 at halftime, despite having 37 less total yards than the Mountaineers.

The story of the first two quarters may have been the efficiency of the Tigers' special teams. Freshman punter Brad Wing was able to place three punts inside the West Virginia five yard line.

The Mountaineer offense seemed to have a different demeanor after halftime.

West Virginia's opening drive of the second half resulted in its second touchdown of the game. Geno Smith found inside receiver Tyler Urban for 12-yard touchdown pass, trimming the score to 27-14.

The West Virginia defense held strong throughout the third quarter and gave the offense opportunities to shrink the lead even more, which they accomplished.

Running back Dustin Garrison finished a 90-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run. And, all of a sudden, the LSU lead was only 27-21.

The crowd that had been quiet for nearly two quarters was back on its feet. But, that would be as close as the Mountaineers would get.

LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne took the ensuing kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown. The score was now 34-21 going into the final quarter of play.

This touchdown proved to be the turning point of the game. LSU tagged on two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to lead 47-21

Mountaineer quarterback Geno Smith thought the loss was very telling.

"I learned that we're going to fight no matter what," he said. "We got down early, and we didn't hang our heads. As long as we don't shoot ourselves in the foot, we can play with anybody."

The West Virginia offense showed glimpses of success all night. West Virginia had 533 total yards to just 367 for LSU. The Mountaineers also had nine more first downs than the Tigers.

But, four West Virginia turnovers were the difference.

"We had four turnovers and they had none," Holgorsen said. "We had twice as many penalties and the special teams were completely one sided, so those things pretty much got them the victory."

Geno Smith had a career day. He completed 38 of 65 passes for 463 yards and 2 touchdowns.

The 65 pass attempts and 463 passing yards were both school records.

"A loss is a loss no matter how many yards I put up," Smith said. "I'd rather put up zero yards and win the game."

His favorite target was wide receiver Tavon Austin. Austin had a career day while catching 11 passes for 187 yards.

"I'm not very happy, but hats off to coach (Les) Miles," Holgorsen said. "It's again, like I said Tuesday, a very established program. They have very good athletes, and they outplayed us and outcoached us."

The win extended LSU's non conference regular season win streak to 36 games.

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