MORGANTOWN - Just inside the Puskar Center there's a glass-framed aerial photograph of a night game at Mountaineer Field. To the side is a list of achievements, including WVU's 16-2 record in home night games since 2001.
Not bad, but it's not LSU.
The Tigers are 25-1 in home games on Saturday nights since 2005. They've played 10 daytime home games over the same span. Consider that in the past nine seasons WVU has played 18 home games at night. In the past 10 years LSU has played 57 and won 52.
What is a special occasion at WVU is an ordinary weekend in Baton Rouge, La., with the latest coming at 9 p.m. Saturday. The 15th-ranked Tigers (3-0) play host to No. 21 WVU (3-0) inside 92,400-seat Tiger Stadium on ESPN2.
"Saturdays have a festive atmosphere," said Dr. Sam Nader, LSU's assistant athletic director for football operations. "It's not Mardi Gras, but it's pretty close. Campus police tell us a typical game has probably 120,000, 125,000 people on campus, even though only 92,000 of them go to the game."
LSU started playing home night games in 1931. Since 1960 the Tigers are 216-60-4 at night and 21-6-3 in the day. Nader has seen a whole bunch of night games in his now 36 years on the staff. Born in Many, La., he was a teenager in high school in Shreveport when the Tigers were among the nation's best in the late 1950s.
"It goes back further than I do, but they started playing night games in September because it was still pretty hot in September, so it was cooler at night," Nader, 65, said. "Louisiana being a blue-collar state, a lot of people in those days, for them the work week included Saturday.
"So it got to be popular for the games to be at night and those folks could work and still get to the games. Then it just caught on and I think anything that happened in the late '50s became tradition. It was a very successful time for the Tigers."
LSU won the national championship in 1958. A year later, running back Billy Cannon won the Heisman Trophy. One of his signature moments came at Tiger Stadium when he broke seven tackles and scored on an 87-yard punt return. Top-ranked LSU used that to beat No. 3 Ole Miss.
The Tigers started wearing white jerseys at home in their championship season and Coach Paul Dietzel sought to continue that for good luck.
The tradition went on until the NCAA ruled in 1982 home teams had to wear dark jerseys. LSU finished a season unranked seven times between 1983 and 1994, including every season from 1989, when the team started No. 7, to 1994.
"White jerseys were something else that caught on because of the success of the era," said Nader, who's been at LSU since 1975. "Then during Coach DiNardo's time as head coach, he petitioned the NCAA to be able to wear white jerseys at home again."