Game Day Preview: What you need to know about LSU-Syracuse
LSU begins a two-week hiatus from the SEC on Saturday when it travels to the Carrier Dome to take on Syracuse. The Tigers enter Saturday’s game 2-0 after some impressive SEC West victories over Mississippi State and Auburn.
Here’s everything you need to know leading up to Saturday’s game.
LSU Tigers (2-0) at Syracuse Orange (3-0) kickoff 11:00 a.m., ESPN
Weather: Game will be played indoors
Line: LSU – 24.5 (according to Caesar’s Palace)
By the numbers
4 – Number of Syracuse quarterbacks to throw a pass through the first three games of the season. Freshman quarterback Eric Dungey was injured last weekend after taking a helmet-to-helmet hit against Central Michigan. Sophomore walk-on Zack Mahoney will replace Dungey this weekend against the Tigers.
46.7 – The average amount of rushing yards Syracuse has given up through three games this season. Syracuse’s run defense ranks fourth in the nation. Opponents have averaged just 1.5 yards per carry on the ground against Syracuse, the second stingiest per-carry average in the country.
68 – Saturday will mark the first game for LSU in the Northeast in 68 years. LSU’s last game out east was in 1947, when the Tigers beat Boston College, 14-13.
208.7 – Average rushing yards per game for Syracuse’s offense. The Orange are No. 41 nationally in total rushing yards this season.
Storylines to watch
Can Fournette keep it going?
Leonard Fournette is a Heisman candidate after his big performance against Auburn, but can he continue his incredible start to the season on the road against the nation’s No. 4 rush defense? The Heisman hopeful has done his damage against two SEC defenses, although Auburn’s unit looks like a work in progress. LSU’s offensive line will also have a good test against a stout Syracuse front seven.
It’s important to note that Syracuse’s first three games were against Rhode Island, Wake Forest and Central Michigan. All of which aren’t exactly powerhouse programs.
What will Brandon Harris’ role be?
Syracuse can stop the run and its game plan should focus on shutting down Fournette. It will be interesting to see how LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron includes Harris in the offense. Harris played well last weekend and was given a few more opportunities to show his dual-threat abilities. He may be relied upon more on Saturday, if Syracuse finds a way to limit Fournette.
Coach Les Miles said earlier in the week that Harris could throw some more against the Orange. The Tigers could try to catch Syracuse off guard and let Harris make some plays in the early sequences of the game.
Avoid the letdown
LSU is coming off an emotional win at home and now faces a confident opponent on the road with a wild-card at quarterback. This game does have some letdown potential for the Tigers if they aren’t careful. The early kickoff certainly doesn’t make matters any easier.
Miles is also expecting the “biggest, loudest, aggressive away stadium,” on Saturday and if he’s even half right it could cause some challenges.
Prediction: LSU 37, Syracuse 13
LSU might start slowly, but Fournette and the offensive line will wear down Syracuse’s front seven. Mahoney is facing an awfully tough test in his first collegiate start and LSU’s defense will force him into some mistakes. The purple and gold will roll through the Orange in the second half.