LaFell has breakout game versus Va. Tech

Brandon LaFell

In one night, sophomore wide receiver Brandon LaFell more than doubled his entire career reception total and did so against the team that has garnered much praise as having the nation's best defense.

Coming into LSU's game against Virginia Tech, LaFell had netted just six receptions in a Tiger uniform. The first of those catches came on the first play he was ever on the field for when he snagged a 58-yard touchdown reception from JaMarcus Russell in 2006 against the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.

 

With the Hokies obviously keying on Early Doucet, LaFell stepped in as Matt Flynn's main target and hauled in seven receptions for 125 yards. One of LaFell's receptions was actually for zero yardage, breaking his six positive catches down to 20.8 yards per catch.

 

"Brandon LaFell had a great game," LSU head coach Les Miles said. "He made some big catches. We wanted to call his number more and got that opportunity, because we really feel like he's a big play waiting to happen for us. He made some nice grabs and ran after catches."

 

LaFell knows a lot of the attention he received last Saturday was because of the attention Doucet was getting.

 

"When you've got a guy like Early Doucet on the other side of you, a lot of teams are going to come out and double-team him for the rest of this year, and they're going to leave me a lot of chances backside, one-on-one with their second corner. Hopefully I'll win the battle," he said.

 

One of the battles LaFell definitely won came on a third-and-long where he jumped up, made a catch, and was absolutely punished in midair by a Virginia Tech defender. LaFell held on to the ball, gave the Tigers a first down, brushed himself off, and allowed the drive to continue. That may not have been the same outcome just a year ago.

 

"Sometimes when I got out there against different corners, I was getting nervous because I was being in the spotlight sometimes," LaFell recalled. "Now I picked up the weight. Like last year … If he would have hit me like that last year, I probably never would have gotten up. But this year, with a couple more pounds, I got up real quick."

 

Oftentimes versus the Hokies, LaFell found himself in single coverage because Virginia Tech's safeties were coming up to play the run. That allowed him to turn short slant passes into big gains.

 

"It was like they were playing Cover Four," LaFell said. "But with the free safety looking in the backfield, it gets them to hesitate, and it gets me to come wide open on those slants."

 

As easy as the Tigers' complete dismantling of the Hokies looked, however, LaFell stated there should be no doubt about the fact that it was LSU's play that earned them the victory and not a lack of play by its opponent.

 

"Don't let the score fool you," LaFell said. "They played every down real hard. They came out and gave us what they had to give us. But it's just us believing in our offense, and we came out there and won."

 

LaFell was a driving force in the Tigers' 301-yard aerial assault before a record Tiger Stadium crowd in Week 2 of the season. He was one of nine Tigers to record a reception and doesn't think there is any reason why that display won't be commonplace.

 

"We just go out there and prepare like we're the last team in America," LaFell said. "We go out there and try to prove ourselves every week. We know that even though we're out here putting up good, big numbers on good teams, there are still people out there doubting us."

 

 

And…

 

 

The crowd surrounding LSU punter Patrick Fisher was more than sparse following the Tigers' 48-7 victory. Had the highly touted special teams of the Hokies lived up to its reputation, there's a good chance Fisher might not have been brought out to speak to the media. Had he been brought out after getting a punt or two blocked, there most certainly would have been more press members around him.

 

"Coming in, we knew that Virginia Tech has a great special teams unit, but we're great too," Fisher said. "Tonight just gave us an opportunity to come out and shine."

 

Fisher averaged 44.7 yards on his three official punts, with a long of 61 yards. In reality, he was made to kick six times. His first two booming punts were called back because of penalties, and he was roughed up once, allowing an LSU scoring drive to continue.

 

"It's all part of the game," Fisher said of the miscues. "I know my guys went out there and gave their best effort. They happened to call a penalty; we lined it up and replayed the down."

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