Coming off a humbling loss to open SEC play, LSU aims to take out its anger on visiting Syracuse on Saturday. The Tigers were pounded by Mississippi State, 37-7 in Week 3, dropping them from the No. 11 team in the country all the way to 23rd nationally.
Obviously not much went right for LSU against Mississippi State, but coach Ed Orgeron was willing to shoulder the blame after his team lost to the Bulldogs for just the second time in the last 18 meetings. “I do believe this is going to be a turning point for us,” Orgeron said. “It better be. I learned a lesson; we did not prepare as well as we should. We did not play well. It’s my responsibility.” The Tigers, who won their first two games by a combined 72-10 margin, will hope for a better performance against an Orange squad that they beat 34-24 two seasons ago. Leonard Fournette ran for 244 yards and two touchdowns in that game and Syracuse will have to be stouter against Fournette’s backup that day, Derrius Guice, if the Orange have any shot at pulling the upset.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2. LINE: LSU -23.5
ABOUT SYRACUSE (2-1): The Orange’s road debut will follow a crisp performance in last week’s 41-17 triumph against Central Michigan in which the team ran for 300 yards as part of a 579-yard effort on offense. “Coach told us ‘All gas, no brakes.’ We put it on them,” tailback Dontae Strickland said, one week after his squad’s embarrassing home loss to Middle Tennessee. “It’s an incredible comeback after last week. It’s hard to do as a team after coming back from a loss. We kind of bounced back as a team.” Eric Dungey threw for 279 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a team-high 105 yards and an additional score last week and Strickland scored on the round for the third straight game.
ABOUT LSU (2-1): Guice, who had scored twice in each of the first two games, was held out of the end zone against Mississippi State but still averaged over five yards per carry on 15 attempts. Danny Etling completed a season-low 44.8 percent of his passes for a season-low 137 yards with a long of 19 yards on nearly 30 attempts. The Tigers have committed 30 penalties this season, prompting Orgeron to say this week: “We think we’re more disciplined now than we’ve been in the past, but obviously the penalties are not showing it. It’s an area that we need improvement, and I‘m sure we’re going to do it.”
1. Syracuse WR Steve Ishmael leads the nation in catches (34) and has surpassed 100 receiving yards in all three games.
2. LSU has not lost a non-conference game at home since 2000, winning its last 48 such games.
3. The Tigers are one of three teams in the nation that have not committed a turnover in 2017.
PREDICTION: LSU 37, Syracuse 27