LSU-Syracuse preview

Bryan Lazare, TigerBait.com Senior Writer
Tiger Bait

In LSU’s home finale last season, running back Leonard Fournette told coach Ed Orgeron that he was not going to be able to play against Florida because of his sore ankle.

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AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

However, Fournette had a change of mind following a mini skirmish between Tigers and Gators players and coaches during pre-game warmups. Fournette returned to the locker room and informed Orgeron that he was going to play against Florida.

Fournette was not effective and left the game for good in the third quarter. Derrius Guice was stopped on the final play of the game as the Gators escaped with a 16-10 victory.

Now, Guice has repeated this scenario.

Guice hurt his knee in the third quarter of last Saturday’s game at Mississippi State. Guice did not practice Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday this week in preparation for Saturday’s home game against Syracuse (6 p.m. Central/ESPN2).

During his radio show on Wednesday night, Orgeron said that Guice would not play against the Orange. There was a change in Guice’s status 24 hours later. Guice went to Orgeron and the Tigers training staff Thursday morning and said that he felt better and wanted to practice.

So, Guice practiced Thursday and now he will play against Syracuse. Another star running back has influenced the LSU staff to let him play. Orgeron said that Guice looked good Thursday. According to Orgeron, the training staff wants Guice to have a limited role Saturday.

At least, Guice practiced before a switch in his playing status was made. One can only hope that Guice is healthy enough for the meeting with the Orange.

Undoubtedly, the Tigers offense will receive a boost with Guice in the lineup. Guice needs 26 rushing yards to move past LaBrandon Toefield into 13th place on LSU’s all-time rankings. A 100-yard rushing game would also push Guice ahead of Jeremy Hill, Brad Davis and Garry James.

Fast facts about LSU

1. Under Orgeron, the Tigers have rebounded quite well following a defeat. After losing to Alabama last season, LSU defeated Arkansas 38-10 in Fayetteville. Following a setback to Florida later in the season, the Tigers knocked off Texas A&M 54-39 in College Station. Under former coach Les Miles, LSU had one three-game losing streak (2015) and two two-game losing streaks (2008 and 2014). The last time the Tigers lost back-to-back games in September happened in 2000 – defeats against Auburn and UAB.

2. LSU has a 36-27 record against teams currently in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Tigers defeated Syracuse when they had just joined the ACC in 2015. LSU beat Louisville in last season’s Citrus Bowl. The last ACC team to defeat the Tigers was Clemson in the 2012 Chick-fil-A Bowl. The last current member of the ACC to beat LSU in the regular season was Virginia Tech in 2002. The Hokies were in the Big East Conference at that time.

3. With a victory against Syracuse, the Tigers would have a 49-game home winning streak in non-conference games. The only major college team with a longer such streak is Wisconsin which won 50 games in a row from 1897-1909.

4. For just the second time in school history, LSU has not committed a turnover in the first three games of a season. The Tigers are one of three teams in the country not to have turned the ball over yet in 2017.

5. It has been three seasons since LSU did not have a 100-yard rusher in a game against a non-SEC opponent. The Tigers have had a back gain 100 rushing yards in 12 straight non-conference games. Leonard Fournette accomplished the feat seven times and Derrius Guice five times. The last non-SEC team to prevent any LSU back to run for at least 100 yards was Louisiana-Monroe in 2014.

6. By registering a half-sack against Mississippi State, Arden Key moved into 11th place on the school’s all-time list. Key is a half-sack behind Michael Brooks and James Gillyard and one sack behind Tyson Jackson. Key enters the Syracuse game with 17½ career sacks.

Fast facts about Syracuse

1. Saturday’s game will be the Orange’s first against LSU in Tiger Stadium. Syracuse beat LSU 23-10 in the 1989 Hall of Fame Bowl at Tampa. The Orange lost to the Tigers 13-10 in the Sugar Bowl following the 1964 season at New Orleans and 34-24 at the Carrier Dome in 2015. Syracuse has a 13-11-1 record against teams currently in the SEC.

2. The Orange’s first three games of 2017 have all been at home. Syracuse has no road victory against a Power 5 conference team since beating Missouri 31-27 in 2012. Since 2000, the Orange has a 3-13 road record against power conference teams. The other two victories came at North Carolina in 2003 and Illinois in 2006. Syracuse’s last road victory against a top 25 team came against West Virginia in 2010.

3. The first half has been good for the Orange this season. Syracuse has outscored its three opponents 68-26 prior to halftime. Eight of the Orange’s 12 touchdowns have come in the first two quarters. When Syracuse was upset at home by Middle Tennessee 30-23, it allowed 21 points in the second half.

4. The Orange defense ranked No. 108 in the country last season when it gave up 225 yards per game on the round. So far in 2017, Syracuse opponents are averaging just 84 yards per game rushing. The Orange has given up one rushing touchdown and one run of at least 20 yards. Syracuse is averaging seven tackles-for-loss per game. A season ago, the Orange averaged only 4.8 tackles behind the line of scrimmage per game.

5. The Orange is the only FBS team to have two receivers on the roster with at least 140 career pass receptions. Ervin Philips has made 150 receptions, while Steve Ishmael has 148 catches. Those two players rank Nos. 2 and 3 on the school’s all-time list. Ishmael, who has recorded three straight 100-yard games, leads the country in receptions with 34.

6. Junior quarterback Eric Dungey has accounted for more than 5,600 yards and 46 touchdowns in his career. Dungey has registered seven 300-yard passing games – tied with Ryan Nassib for the most by a Syracuse quarterback. Dungey’s 63 percent completion rate is the highest for any Orange quarterback with at least 300 completions. Dungey has passed for almost 4,800 yards and has rushed for more than 850 yards in his career.


PREDICTION

LSU will now have Derrius Guice as its offense attempts to get back on track after a horrible night in Starkville. More attention will be focused on the passing game which regressed after looking pretty good in the first two games. Syracuse should not pressure quarterback Danny Etling as much as Mississippi State did. LSU coordinator Matt Canada’s Pittsburgh offense scored 76 points against the Orange in last year’s regular-season finale. The Tigers defense faces another dual-threat quarterback in Eric Dungey, who is not in the same class as Nick Fitzgerald as a runner. However, Dungey is a better passer with two outstanding receivers in Ervin Philips and Steve Ishmael. The defense has an opportunity to redeem itself this week.

LSU 37, Syracuse 19


Here are the statistical comparisons between LSU and Syracuse.

LSU points per game: 26.3

Syracuse points allowed per game: 18.0

LSU rushing yards per game: 217.0

Syracuse rushing yards allowed per game: 84.3

LSU passing yards per game: 184.0

Syracuse passing yards allowed per game: 219.7

LSU pass completion rate: 57 percent

Syracuse pass completion rate allowed: 52 percent

LSU total yards per game: 401.0

Syracuse total yards allowed per game: 304.0

LSU turnovers per game: 0.0

Syracuse turnovers forced per game: 2.3

LSU sacks allowed per game: 1.3

Syracuse sacks per game: 0.7

LSU third-down conversion rate: 37 percent

Syracuse third-down conversion rate allowed: 16 percent

Syracuse points per game: 38.0

LSU points allowed per game: 15.7

Syracuse rushing yards per game: 193.7

LSU rushing yards allowed per game: 116.0

Syracuse passing yards per game: 297.3

LSU passing yards allowed per game: 152.0

Syracuse pass completion rate: 63 percent

LSU pass completion rate allowed: 53 percent

Syracuse total yards per game: 491.0

LSU total yards allowed per game: 268.0

Syracuse turnovers per game: 2.3

LSU turnovers forced per game: 1.0

Syracuse sacks allowed per game: 2.0

LSU sacks per game: 3.0

Syracuse third-down conversion rate: 42 percent

LSU third-down conversion rate allowed: 32 percent

Here are the individual statistical leaders for LSU and Syracuse.

Rushing

LSU: Derrius Guice – 57 carries, 300 yards, 4 touchdowns (out with an injury)

Syracuse: Eric Dungey – 39 carries, 209 yards, 4 touchdowns

Passing

LSU: Danny Etling: 60 attempts, 35 completions, 58 percent, 535 yards, 1 touchdown, 0 interceptions

Syracuse: Eric Dungey: 113 attempts, 73 completions, 65 percent, 787 yards, 5 touchdowns, 2 interceptions

Receiving

LSU: DJ Chark: 10 catches, 203 yards

Syracuse: Steve Ishmael: 34 catches, 389 yards

Tackles

LSU: Devin White – 25

Syracuse: Parris Bennett – 17

Tackles-for-loss

LSU: Corey Thompson – 3½

Syracuse: Josh Black – 3

Sacks

LSU: Corey Thompson – 3½

Syracuse: Scoop Bradshaw, Jonathan Kingsley – 1

Quarterback-hurries

LSU: Donnie Alexander – 2 (suspended for the first half)

Syracuse: Parris Bennett – 3

Interceptions

LSU: Greedy Williams – 2

Syracuse: Evan Foster, Chris Fredrick, Jonathan Thomas – 1

Pass breakups

LSU: Ed Paris, Greedy Williams – 4

Syracuse: Evan Foster – 2

Return yardage

LSU: Clyde Edwards-Helaire – 5 kickoff returns, 112 yards

Syracuse: Sean Riley – 7 kickoff returns, 243 yards; 8 punt returns, 25 yards

Punting

LSU: Josh Growden – 10 punts, 40.0-yard average

Syracuse: Sterling Hofrichter – 14 punts, 46.1-yard average

Kick-scoring

LSU: Jack Gonsoulin – 2-of-4 on field goal, 6-of-6 on extra points

Syracuse: Cole Murphy – 7-of-8 on field goals, 11-of-12 on extra points

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