(Saturday, September 25th)
Final Score: (15) LSU 20, (22) West Virginia 14
Baton Rouge, LA (Sports Network) - Patrick Peterson returned a punt 60 yards for a touchdown and the LSU defense held West Virginia to 177 total yards, as the 15th-ranked Tigers held off the 22nd-ranked Mountaineers, 20-14, in a non- conference battle of unbeaten teams.
Stevan Ridley ran for 116 yards and a touchdown on 20 touches for the Tigers (4-0), who kept the nation's longest non-conference winning streak intact at 31 games.
The win gave LSU a 4-0 start for the fourth straight year and extended a winning streak at Tiger Stadium to 29 consecutive games against non-conference foes dating back to 2000.
Geno Smith threw for 119 yards on 14-of-29 attempts with two touchdowns and an interception. Noel Devine was held to 37 yards rushing, and West Virginia (3-1) gained just 21 more yards on the ground as a team.
"We had Noel Devine talking in the papers saying we're not fast and they never saw speed like us," Peterson said. "But to be honest with you, they never saw speed like this defense that we have over here. We played fast, we played aggressive and we played smart as well."
Jock Sanders ended with five catches for 47 yards and a touchdown in the loss.
LSU, which came into the game fifth in the nation in scoring defense, blocked a field goal and forced WVU into five three-down possessions in the first half.
"We lost that game in every phase, offense, defense and special teams," West Virginia coach Bill Stewart said.
The Tigers' first two scoring series came as a result of West Virginia turnovers.
Ridley's one-yard touchdown on fourth down came off a Ryan Clarke fumble inside the Mountaineer 10 late in the first quarter and John Jasper kicked a 49-yard field goal to follow Smith's interception on the second play of the second quarter.
West Virginia was forced to punt after a three-and-out, and Peterson darted his way through defenders for a 60-yard touchdown return and a 17-0 LSU lead with just under 12 minutes to go until halftime.
The Mountaineer offense finally got on track for a 10-play, 53-yard drive just before the break, as Smith hit Stedman Bailey on a five-yard TD.
LSU junior Jordan Jefferson was picked off on the opening series of the second half, and Eain Smith returned it 38 yards to the Tiger 15-yard line. A personal foul set the offense back 15 yards, but Smith sailed a 13-yard pass to Sanders in the end zone to get the visitors back within three at 17-14.
A lengthy 72-yard drive spanning 14 plays for LSU stretched into the fourth where Jasper kicked a 23-yard field goal on the quarter's first play for a 20-14 game.
WVU came back with a drive that stalled at the LSU 29, and Tyler Bitancurt missed a 48-yard kick. LSU's defense forced punts on the next two Mountaineer possessions, and Ridley was able to run out the clock after the Tigers got the ball back with just under three minutes remaining.
LSU ran its streak of consecutive regular season games without allowing a first quarter touchdown to 12...It was Ridley's second 100-yard rushing game of the season...Peterson also had an 87-yard punt return for a score in the season opener against North Carolina...LSU linebacker Kelvin Sheppard paced the defense with a game-high 11 tackles, including five solo stops...LSU gained just 230 yards of offense, with Jefferson going 10-of-22 for 75 yards with two interceptions under center.
09/26 03:25:25 ET