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Syracuse vs. LSU football preview: Q&A with And the Valley Shook


NCAA Football: Citrus Bowl-Louisiana State vs Louisville Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange (2-1) head down to Baton Rouge, La. on Saturday to face the LSU Tigers (2-1). It’s a night game at vaunted Tiger Stadium, and despite LSU coming off a loss this past weekend, there’s still a pretty large chance of victory for the home team.

It’s been two years since we last saw LSU, so we asked Billy Gomila -- who you should follow on Twitter — from SB Nation’s excellent And the Valley Shook to join us to discuss everything you’re hoping to learn about the Tigers. We’ll be answering two separate sets of questions over there as well, and we’ll link to those as soon as they’re up.

WHAT HAPPENED in LSU's 37-7 loss to Mississippi State on Saturday?

Um... everything? Honestly, LSU just got it's butt kicked. No two ways about it. Mississippi State won at the line of scrimmage and took the Tigers out of their gameplan, and the team just did not respond well at all. It's a loss that has us asking a lot of questions.

NCAA Football: Chattanooga at Louisiana State Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse isn't all that proficient at stopping the run (despite this year’s improvement). Are the Tigers likely to just lean on Derrius Guice and smother SU?

Right now, I would say just lean on the run in general. This is a team that's still built more for the run than the pass, so I would imagine that getting this offense back on track will involve leaning back on Guice and the other Tiger backs.

What aspect of the Orange's game seems easiest to exploit? There are at least a couple options...

From what I know about Dino Babers' attack, it tends to struggle against teams that can line up and play man-to-man coverage, which is a strength for this team. Otherwise, LSU really needs to re-establish itself up front on both sides of the ball. I'd really like to see the press that physical advantage here.

How can SU take advantage of Donnie Alexander's absence in the first half this week?

Honestly, I don't know that he'll be missed much. We had high hopes for Alexander entering this year, but to-date he's been suspended for one game and committed some really bone-headed fouls in two others. Freshman Tyler Taylor has done just well enough in his absence that Alexander may have a hard time getting back on the field after this.

NCAA Football: Chattanooga at Louisiana State Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Who's one unsung LSU player that could have a major impact on Saturday's proceedings?

Against a pass-first team like the Orange, watch for redshirt freshman cornerback Andraez "Greedy" Williams. He intercepted passes in the first two games this year, and has generally looked like our next great corner. Very instinctive, and plays the ball incredibly well.

Syracuse has several notable offensive weapons -- any of them more scary than the rest?

Right now, everything is scary for LSU fans. We just suffered a generational loss, one that has us wondering how we'll see this team bounce back. If they struggle here, that will only make things worse.

What's one thing visiting Orange fans should make sure to do to make the most of a night game in Baton Rouge?

I always recommend trying to come in early and take in some of the food on Friday night if you can, and definitely hit campus and try to wander around on Saturday. LSU fans may be loud, but we're a friendly sort, and if you see somebody reach into a cast-iron pot and offer you something, just say yes and don't ask questions.

NCAA Football: Louisiana State at Mississippi State Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Prediction time: What do you think happens in this one?

It's hard to be sure of much for this team right now. I feel like LSU can come out and just lean on pure talent to win this game, but that won't be good enough to satisfy many people. They need to truly get better this week. That, as much as anything, is what I will be looking for. Not to say I buy into the whole "oh they're going to get it because we lost" bit, but this is what I like to call a get-right game for LSU. Or at least, that's what it has to be. If it isn't, this season will start to spiral out of control, I'm afraid.

Thanks again to Billy for taking the time out to answer these. Be sure to follow him, along with And the Valley Shook Twitter, and head over to the site too for the latest on LSU football.