For a game that was never really in question all week long, Syracuse sure did put up a fight. After outgaining LSU in the first half, the Syracuse Orange (2-2) simply could not handle the strength and athleticism of the LSU Tigers (3-1) in a 35 to 26 loss.
After an awful start that included a near pick six on the very first offensive play of the game, the offense only found a true rhythm in the fourth quarter. The game plan consisted of short passes, quick routes, and screens. Dungey completed 32 of 53 passes for 265 yards. Receiving wise, Steve Ishmael led the way with 123 yards on 11 catches.
On the ground, SU could not convert anything all night long. Averaging 2.8 yards per carry, the LSU front seven was just simply too strong for the Orange offensive line. The longest gain was a 14 yard rush by Dontae Strickland, not a positive sighting.
Defensively, the front seven again looked very good. They held a very talented LSU running game to 151 yards and only allowed 4 yards per attempt. Pre-season All American Derrius Guice was held to 14 yards on 8 carries. Led by Zaire Franklin and Parris Bennet (who combined to stop Derrius Williams for a safety), the defensive front seven was very good once more.
Yet, the downfall once again was the secondary. They allowed 87 and a 43-yard touchdowns, as well as 12.3 yards per completion. Although, after LSU starting quarterback Dany Etling appeared to be getting in a groove, he was replaced with freshman Myles Brennan. Still, this did not really make a difference and Syracuse could not stop anything through the air, other than the Juwan Dowels interception.
Perhaps the most unexpected was the creativity of the play calling. Multiple times on fourth down, they extended the defense and capitalized using reverses and trick plays. Syracuse pushed the tempo, broke down a strong LSU team, and was able to score some points. The most notable was the Devin C. Butler 30 yard pass to Erv Phillips for a touchdown.
More recap and reaction to come, but this was not a negative outing from the Orange. They showed a resilience, aggression, and determination that is necessary if they want to rally back from a disappointing non-conference portion of the schedule.
Until next week at N.C. State.