USA Today/Rich Barnes

Five things to know about LSU's next opponent: Syracuse

Here are five things you should know about Syracuse

1. Syracuse is off to its best start since 1991

The Orange have started the season 3-0 for the first time in 24 years. Syracuse opened 2015 with a shutout victory against Rhode Island followed by an ACC win over Wake Forest, 30-17. Syracuse stayed undefeated last weekend, surviving in overtime against Central Michigan and escaping with a 30-27 victory. Their three wins this season match their total from all of 2014. LSU and Syracuse have not played since 1988, when the Tigers lost, 23-10, in the Hall of Fame Bowl.           

2. Syracuse quarterbacks devastated by injury

Health has been an issue for the Syracuse quarterbacks. The original starter, Terrel Hunt went down in the first quarter of Syracuse’s first game of the season with a torn Achilles’ that knocked him out for the year. His backup, Eric Dungey, suffered a concussion last week and is “doubtful” to play against LSU. Syracuse used two different quarterbacks — Austin Wilson and Zach Mahoney — after Dungey’s injury. Wilson threw a touchdown pass, but Syracuse went with Mahoney at the end of the game, and the walk-on led a game-winning touchdown drive in overtime. Syracuse has not said which quarterback will start against LSU.

3. Get ready for the “Loud House”

Syracuse’s Carrier Dome is one of the more iconic venues in all of college sports. It is the only domed stadium in the Northeast, and is the largest structure of its kind on a college campus in the country. Since its opening in 1980, the Carrier Dome also plays host to the men’s and women’s basketball teams and the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams. Its Teflon-coated, fiberglass inflatable roof causes sound to echo and multiply, leading to the nickname “The Loud House,” which was coined upon its opening 35 years ago.

4. Les Miles, Scott Shafer grew up an hour apart

It’ll be a battle of Ohioans when Les Miles leads LSU against Scott Shafer’s Syracuse team. The two actually grew up near each other, Les Miles from Elyria, Ohio and Shafer from Painesville, Ohio. Their high schools are only about an hour apart, though Shafer was only a toddler when Miles graduated. The two do also share a connection to Michigan. Miles played and coached there, and Shafer spent one season in 2008 as the Wolverines’ defensive coordinator.

5. Syracuse’s round, orange mascot “Otto”

“Otto” is one of the more recognizable mascots in college sports, but he wasn’t the school’s first. Syracuse once had a mascot called “The Saltine Warrior,” an Indian figure named “Big Chief Bill Orange,” that was born out of a hoax in the 1930s that claimed the remains of an Indian chief had been discovered when digging the foundation for a new women’s gymnasium in 1928. The Saltine Warrior stuck as Syracuse’s mascot until 1978 when a group of Native American students protested it, citing its stereotypical portrayal of Native Americans. Syracuse went through several unofficial mascots in the years after that, until “Otto” was officially recognized as the school’s mascot in 1995.

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