By John Antonik for WVUsports.com
September 21, 2011 11:23 AM
There is something magical about night games at Milan Puskar Stadium and first-year coach Dana Holgorsen is eager to experience the atmosphere surrounding West Virginia’s nationally televised prime-time game against second-ranked LSU this Saturday.
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“As the first night game, everyone is fired up about it,” he said. “I’ve been in a lot of night games that have been sold out with 60,000 to 110,000 people in it. There are a lot of good atmospheres out there. The only thing I can worry about is making our place a good atmosphere.”
What Holgorsen would like to see is the atmosphere anticipated for this Saturday to be a constant at Milan Puskar Stadium, regardless of the opponent or the starting time.
“Everyone should show up and be loud and enjoy it,” he said. “Do you think LSU is used to that? Their place is filled for every game, regardless of who they play, that’s the way it is. That’s what we’re striving for here. It’s not a one-time or one-game thing.”
Holgorsen’s message is the same one Rich Rodriguez used to issue to Mountaineer fans.
“The mark of a good program and a competitive program is filling the stadium every time you line up,” he said. “It needs to happen all the time.”
For the record, LSU has been exceptional under Les Miles playing night games, posting a 47-4 record under the lights. The Tigers also have outstanding records against Top 25 teams (25-13) and in road games (19-9) under Miles.
However, this weekend’s trio to West Virginia is just LSU’s second non-conference road game since 2005, the Tigers defeating 15th-ranked Arizona State 35-31 that season. LSU’s last regular season non-conference loss also took place on the road at Virginia Tech in 2002, a 26-8 setback to the Hokies.
“I’ve been looking forward to this because I’ve been told Morgantown is a wonderful place to play,” said Miles. “Their game experience is a lot like an SEC game. They have a crowd that is in to their team and makes a lot of noise. Our guys enjoy that type of environment.”
So does West Virginia. The Mountaineers are 18-2 in home night games since 2000. It should be a lot of fun this weekend.