By Brett Martel
AP Sports Writer
BATON ROUGE, La. —
Patrick Peterson added another highlight to his Heisman Trophy resume, and LSU needed it.
Peterson returned a punt 60 yards for a score, and No. 15 LSU held on for a 20-14 victory over 22nd-ranked West Virginia on Saturday night.
The Tigers (4-0) again had to rely heavily on defense and special teams play to remain unbeaten. Jordan Jefferson had a third straight game throwing for fewer than 100 yards and no touchdowns. He was also intercepted twice and briefly pulled in the fourth quarter.
Jefferson’s second interception, picked by Eain Smith, set up Geno Smith’s 13-yard scoring strike to Jock Sanders, which got WVU (3-1) to within 17-14 in the third quarter. But the closest the Mountaineers came to scoring after that was Tyler Bitancurt’s missed 48-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. Bitancourt also had a field goal blocked by Lazarius Levingston in the first quarter. Peterson was orginially credited with that big play, too.
Stevan Ridley rushed for 116 yards, including 1-yard TD run for LSU, and Josh Jasper added field goals 49 and 23 yards.
WVU’s Noel Devine, who wasn’t held to fewer than 111 yards rushing in any of the Mountaineers’ first three games, managed only 37 yards on 14 carries against the stingy Tigers’ defense.
Smith was 14 of 29 passing for 119 yards and two TDs, the first going for 5 yards to Stedman Bailey for West Virginia’s first points at the end of the second quarter. He was intercepted once by freshman defensive back Tyrann Matheiu, who also recovered Ryan Clarke’s fumble on the WVU 7 in the first quarter, setting up Ridley’s TD — the only touchdown scored by LSU’s offense.
Mathieu’s interception set up Jasper’s first field goal, and Peterson’s slashing punt return made it 17-0 in the second quarter. Peterson struck a stiff-arming Heisman pose to the delight of the nearby student section after the return and was flagged for excessive celebration.
But even with Death Valley in a frenzy, the feisty Mountaineers wouldn’t wilt, and LSU’s offense lacked the firepower to put them away.
LSU finished with 230 total yards of offense, but the Tigers’ defense bailed them out by holding West Virginia to 177 and getting two turnovers.