Day & Time: Saturday, September 23, 2017, 7 p.m. ET
Field: Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, La.
Line: Started out at Syracuse +23.5, and has moved down a half-point to 23 since then.
Broadcast team: (Syracuse alum) Anish Shroff, Ahmad Brooks & Julie Stewart-Binks
Radio: Syracuse IMG Network, WAER 88.3, Sirius 93/XM 193
LSU blog: And the Valley Shook
Rivalry: 1-2, Tigers
Current Streak: LSU, 1
First Meeting: Following a 7-3 regular season campaign in 1964, the Orangemen were invited to New Orleans to take on LSU (7-2-1) in the Sugar Bowl at Tulane Stadium. They fell 13-10 to the Tigers in front of a partisan crowd, despite jumping out to an early 10-0 lead.
Last Meeting: LSU made its first trek up to the Carrier Dome in 2015, and despite the strange new surroundings, they (obviously) grabbed the win. That said, Syracuse backup quarterback Zack Mahoney at least made things interesting for a bit en route to a 10-point loss for the home team.
Head Coaches: SU: Dino Babers (2nd year, 6-9), LSU: Ed Orgeron (2nd year, 8-3)
Coach Bio: DACOACHO is a Louisiana native, starting in coaching in 1984, and eventually working his way up to Syracuse as a defensive line coach in 1995. Ten years later, he’d take over as head coach at Ole Miss, but lasted just three years (and only won 10 total games). He’d get another shot as interim head coach for USC in 2013, winning praise for his 6-2 turnaround with the Trojans. While he didn’t get that job, he’d get another interim chance last season with LSU. Another 6-2 record led to him getting hired full-time by the Tigers.
Last Year: After a 2-2 start, they let go of long-time coach Les Miles, handing the job to Orgeron. DACOACHO beat three ranked teams (Ole Miss, Texas A&M and Louisville), and lost to two more (Alabama and Florida). But his six wins in eight games (and 8-4 overall mark) were enough to impress the athletic department once they struck out on hiring eventual Texas coach Tom Herman.
Last Game: Despite being favored on the road vs. Mississippi State, LSU was crushed by the Bulldogs, 37-7. MSU outgained the Tigers by 195 yards, and ran for nearly 300 on the ground. LSU only managed 137 passing yards and couldn’t really pull back into the game once they were down in the first half. Derrius Guice only ran for 76 yards, but didn’t play in the second half either.
"Fear Me, I've Killed Hundreds of Timelords": The aforementioned Guice is a nightmare to try and stop, despite a compact 5-foot-11, 212-pound frame. Backing up/replacing Leonard Fournette last year, he ran for 1,387 yards and 15 scores. Despite an improved run defense this year, Syracuse is still going to have its hands full trying to stop the Tigers’ run game.
If Syracuse Wins: IT’S HAPPENING DOT GIF.
A win down in Death Valley, even vs. a No. 25 LSU (instead of a No. 12 team) would be the type of victory that would define the narrative of this football season on a national scale. The two programs have spent the last 15 years moving in far different directions. The Orange winning on the road in one of the most difficult venues in the country would be wholly unexpected and shocking to any observers.
If Syracuse Loses: As long as we’re not lit on fire at midfield en route to a 40-point loss, I’m feeling alright about this. The talent gap is very wide, even if our scheme is designed to close a portion of that gulf. It underlines why we shouldn’t be scheduling blueblood programs on the road. At least we’ll have a good time down in Baton Rouge.
Fun Fact: Orgeron coached at Syracuse from 1995-97, as you now. During his time at Syracuse, Paul Pasqualoni employed several future head coaches and NFL coordinators, along with Orgeron. Some of those: Steve Addazio, Teryl Austin, Randy Edsall and Brian Schottenheimer.