LSU as No. 1? The Tigers have earned it

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To be honest, LSU is a difficult team to figure out. With coach Les Miles patrolling the sideline, I always feel on edge. I’m never quite sure what I’m going to get, or when I’m going to get it.

If I get “it”.

Whatever “it” is.

And that’s what makes No. 2 LSU the most terrifying team in college football. Not Saturday night in Death Valley, not the NFL factory of defensive linemen, but whatever “it” is that hides underneath Miles’ signature hat.

And Miles knows it; for sixty minutes, he looks like he’s the cat — or, tiger — that swallowed the canary. Probably because whatever “it” is, his team has it.

That’s why the Tigers should be No. 1 when the newest polls come out tomorrow. Need proof? Look at what we know:

LSU plays their best in big-game environments. A neutral site game against Oregon? Calling plays over ringing cowbells in Starkville, Mississippi? Heading north to Mountaineer Field in what is one of the more underrated venues in college football? The Tigers handled all three tasks, and at times, made it look easy.

In a 47-21 victory over No. 16 West Virginia, LSU even made it look like they get a rousing enjoyment out of the whole situation.

LSU knows who they are. They run the ball right at you and they don’t care how many defenders your team stacks in the box. They play stifling defense and superb special teams, and they don’t turn the ball over often. In fact, the Tigers are +8 in turnover margin. In a world consumed by flashy spread offenses and make-you-miss athletes (which, believe us, LSU has plenty of those, too), the Bayou Bengals do all the little things right.

And that’ll win you some games almost every time.

LSU is mentally and physically tough. West Virginia, to their credit, never gave up in tonight’s loss, and really, the final score didn’t fully indicate how pesky WVU played the Tigers. But each time it looked like the Mountaineers got some steam going, LSU took it right back.

Simply put, there’s no team in college football who has been put through as many gauntlet games this early in the season as LSU. And, not only have the Tigers survived, they’ve thrived.

There’s that “it” factor. It’s tough to define, but we know it exists.

Put LSU atop the polls. They’ve earned it.

WVU RB Donaldson in concussion protocol, out for Baylor game

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) West Virginia running back CJ Donaldson is in concussion protocol and will miss next week’s home game with Baylor after he was injured in a loss to Texas, coach Neal Brown said Tuesday.

Donaldson remained on the ground after he was tackled on a short gain in the third quarter of Saturday’s 38-20 loss to the Longhorns. His helmet and shoulder pads were removed and he was carted off the field on a stretcher. After the game he was cleared to travel home with the team.

“He’s recovering,” Brown said. “There is a strict return-to-play (policy) that we have to follow here and I’m zero involved in it. All I do is ask the question. They don’t even start the return-to-play until they’re symptom free.”

Donaldson, a 240-pound freshman, leads the Mountaineers with 389 rushing yards and six touchdowns, with an average of 6.9 yards per carry.

West Virginia (2-3, 0-2 Big 12 Conference) is idle this week and hosts Baylor (3-2, 1-1) next Thursday, Oct. 13.

Taulia Tagovailoa says he visited brother, Tua, over weekend

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
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COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa was able to visit his brother, Tua, last weekend after the Terrapins’ game against Michigan State, he said Tuesday in his first comments to reporters since Tua left the Miami Dolphins’ game against Cincinnati last Thursday with a frightening head injury.

Taulia played in Maryland’s win over Michigan State on Saturday but was not made available to the media afterward. He said Tuesday he was able to go to Florida and spend some time with his brother, who suffered a concussion four days after taking a hit in another game but was cleared to return.

“He’s doing good, everything’s fine,” he said. “My biggest thing was just seeing him and spending as much time as I can with him. I came back Sunday night.”

Tagovailoa said he appreciates the support for his brother.

“My brother’s my heart. He’s someone I look up to, someone I talk to every day,” he said. “It was just a hard scene for me to see that.”

Tagovailoa said he was in constant contact with his mother about his brother’s situation, and he was finally able to talk to Tua on Friday night.

“I really just wanted to go there and just spend time with my family, hug them and stuff like that,” Taulia Tagovailoa said. “But he told me he’s a big fan of us, and he’d rather watch me play on Saturday. … After that phone call, I was happy and getting back to my normal routine.”

Tagovailoa indicated that his brother’s injury didn’t make him too nervous about his own health when he took the field again.

“I guess when that happens to someone like my brother, or when anything happens to one of my family members, I don’t really think of how it will be able to affect me,” he said. “I just think of: `Is he OK? How’s he doing?”‘

Although it was a short visit to Florida, he said he and Tua made the most of their chance to be together.

“I just wanted to make sure he’s healthy and stuff, which he is,” Taulia Tagovailoa said.