This week’s LSU-Syracuse nonconference game turned out to be far more exciting than the Tigers had hoped.
LSU (3-1) stormed out to a 21-3 advantage over Syracuse (2-2), before the Orange began chipping away at the lead. Syracuse scored 23 of the next 30 points to pull within two points, at 28-26, with 5:40 left. The Tigers finally secured victory in the final 2 minutes with a D.J. Chark touchdown and a defensive stop.
This marked the fourth time the Tigers and Orange programs have collided. LSU won 34-24 at Syracuse in 2015. The first two meetings came in bowl games. Syracuse won the 1989 Hall of Fame Bowl, 23-10, and LSU won the 1965 Sugar Bowl 13-10.
SEC Country reporters Alex Hickey, Sam Spiegelman and Nick Suss were on the scene in Baton Rouge. Read their in-game observations and insights below:
LSU-Syracuse live updates, score
LSU 35, Syracuse 26
The Tigers made it a two-possession game with 1:52 left. D.J. Chark scored a 20-yard rushing touchdown on a jet sweep to cap a 7-play, 56-yard drive for LSU.
Syracuse turned the ball over on downs with 1:25 left, and LSU subsequently ran out the clock.
LSU 28, Syracuse 26
The inconceivable is becoming conceivable.
LSU committed its first turnover of the season when Myles Brennan was picked off in the red zone. Syracuse responded with a beautiful 13-play, 80-yard drive that ate 5:01 off the clock to pull within a field goal of taking the lead. After doing so well not getting penalized, two LSU flags helped keep the drive going.
And now the LSU offense turns back to Danny Etling at quarterback.
END THIRD QUARTER: LSU 28, Syracuse 19
Syracuse took advantage of the bonus possession after the safety and marched down the field. The Orange went 72 yards in 10 plays, culminating in a 14-yard touchdown run by quarterback Eric Dungey, who blew past Arden Key for the score.
Somewhat curiously, the Orange did not elect to go for a 2-point conversion with 7 seconds left in the quarter.
LSU 28, Syracuse 12
A poor decision by DJ Chark led directly to a safety. Chark, who has been hesitant fielding punts all night, let a Syracuse punt roll to the 1 where it was downed. On the first play of the LSU drive, Darrel Williams was tackled in the end zone for a safety.
That’s the third time in this game points have been scored on the first possession of an LSU drive — two touchdowns for the Tigers and a safety for the Orange.
LSU 28, Syracuse 10
So, we saw what Myles Brennan looks like in a real game. And it’s pretty good. Brennan completed both of his passes for 46 yards in leading a six-play, 91-yard drive. But the drive was largely the work of Darrel Williams, who finished it off with a 20-yard touchdown run. Williams also picked up 43 of Brennan’s passing yards, turning a short dump-off into the flat into an explosive gain.
LSU 21, Syracuse 10
The Orange finally scored a touchdown on a 30-yard pass from… wide receiver Devin Butler to wide receiver Ervin Phillips. Butler did a fantastic job eluding pressure when the LSU front seven had the play snuffed out, and delivered an absolute strike on the throw to beat an LSU secondary that seemed to think the play was over.
Also, we have no idea how much time is left in this game. The clock is broken and time is being kept on the field by the back judge.
LSU 21, Syracuse 3
In a game so far marked by offensive ineptitude, LSU has managed to score on the first offensive play of both halves. This time it was a great pass from Danny Etling to Drake Davis for an 87-yard strike that electrified a crowd that had only been buzzing because of the halftime show.
HALF: LSU 14, Syracuse 3
The good news? LSU didn’t commit a single penalty in the first half.
The better news? Somehow the Tigers are up by two scores despite one of the most underwhelming offensive performances you could hope to look at. LSU was limited to minus-1 yard on the ground in the first quarter, but managed to up the total to 46 by halftime.
Syracuse’s defense has looked far more athletic up front than the Tigers offensive front, and that’s deeply troubling. The Orange have actually outgained LSU 149-141, but because of a dropped pass in the end zone Syracuse has very little to show for it.
LSU 14, Syracuse 3
After sleepwalking most of its way through the first half, LSU’s offense caught fire in the two-minute drill. The Tigers needed only 1:30 to march down the field, capitalizing on a laser from Etling to Stephen Sullivan, who blew away the Syracuse secondary with his breakaway speed for a 43-yard touchdown.
END FIRST QUARTER: LSU 7, Syracuse 3
What a miserable quarter for LSU’s increasingly beleaguered offense. The Tigers were limited to 10 yards of offense on three possessions. One of those yards came on the very first play, a Derrius Guice touchdown run from the Syracuse 1.
Fans will undoubtedly be calling for a quarterback change, but no one stands a chance behind this offensive line right now.
LSU 7, Syracuse 3
Nice drive by the Orange after starting off the game in the worst way possible. Syracuse converted a fourth down to get itself into field-goal range and Cole Murphy knocked in a 42-yarder.
Greedy Williams appeared to have his second interception of the first quarter in the back of the end zone, but replay review correctly determined the ball hit the ground. Still, it was a tremendous effort by Williams just to be in position for the pass defense.
LSU 7, Syracuse 0
Well that’s a heck of a way to shake off the cobwebs from last week.
Greedy Williams opened the game by picking off Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey, returning the ball to the Orange 2-yard line before being pulled out of bounds by his facemask. One play later Derrius Guice plunged into the end zone untouched — no easy task from the 1-yard line.
LSU-Syracuse preview coverage
- Derrius Guice will play against Syracuse after all
- Syracuse game offers Matt Canada chance to prove his worth
Pregame score predictions
LSU 38, Syracuse 13
Drop-off passes from quarterback Danny Etling to running back Darrel Williams might be something to expect this week, as well as other short to intermediate passes to LSU’s best weapons, such as Russell Gage and JaCoby Stevens across multiple formations, which may ultimately open up the downfield passing game to D.J. Chark, Drake Davis and Stephen Sullivan. — Sam Spiegelman
LSU 31, Syracuse 24
Orange quarterback Eric Dungey leads a potent attack capable of tiring out any defense, but especially one as inexperienced and depth deficient as LSU’s. Syracuse’s defense probably won’t be capable of containing the athletes on LSU’s offense for too long, however, especially if Derrius Guice plays more than a few drives. — Nick Suss
LSU 44, Syracuse 27
With Syracuse dedicated to an up-tempo offense that wants to run 90-plus plays, LSU’s precariously thin defensive line becomes an even weaker liability. When the Tigers have the ball, expect them to try controlling the clock. — Alex Hickey
LSU 37, Syracuse 14
Expect Danny Etling to evenly distribute the ball in the friendly confines of Tiger Stadium, with wide receiver Drake Davis having a breakout 2-touchdown performance. Also, the rotation on the defensive side of the ball will be interesting as defensive coordinator Dave Aranda looks to see which players he can trust to stay disciplined and on assignment. — Carter Bryant
Next on the schedule
The Tigers will play host to Troy in Baton Rouge on Saturday, Sept. 30, at 7 p.m. ET (6 p.m. CT). The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.