What follows are some of my initial reactions to the performance by LSU's offense as well as relevant personnel notes for coordinator Cam Cameron's group.
- Obviously running back Leonard Fournette is something we don't see very often as college football fans. His final tally in the Empire State: 26 carries, 244 yards and two touchdowns. It didn't exactly start quickly for Fournette, either, as the Orange's game plan was appropriately tailored to stopping No. 7. That only lasted so long. He ripped off a 62-yard run for a score and had an even longer gallop taken off the board due to illegal formation (more on this below). This is part joke and part serious: I'm beginning to believe the only thing that can stop him is LSU itself, via penalties. Clean up the yellow hankies and Fournette not only eclipses Alley Broussard's school record of 250 yards in a single game. He goes well north of 300 yards.
- Speaking of penalties, let's discuss those on the offensive side of the ledger considering the starting O-Line was responsible for the bulk of the whistles. LSU finished the ballgame with a ridiculous 14 penalties for 120 yards. A Fournette touchdown was taken off the board due to having five men in the backfield. That's borderline unforgivable on a basic run play. Making matters worse: LSU's most experienced offensive linemen (Vadal Alexander, Jerald Hawkins and Ethan Pocic) were the main culprits on many of the holds or illegal procedures. These mistakes, coupled with questionable special teams play in the first half, kept Syracuse in it much longer than it probably should have been (strictly based off talent that is, as the 'Cuse played with a ton of energy Saturday).
- Sophomore wide-out Malachi Dupre deserves a pat on the back for his resilience and production. After dropping a first-half pass and knocking his head on the turf, Dupre bounced back to finish with four catches for 73 yards and a critical score with 9:14 remaining in the fourth quarter. He is by no stretch of the imagination one of LSU's most physically punishing receivers, but Dupre possesses a skill set to catch balls deep and at its highest point that is innate and pretty to watch. The Tigers could stand for Dupre to continue gaining confidence alongside veteran Travin Dural.
- Staying in the gaining confidence department, quarterback Brandon Harris showed up in the fourth quarter of a tight ballgame, making a couple of big throws on consecutive plays, including a bomb down the middle of the field to Dural and the touchdown fade to Dupre. The receivers weren't always his best ally during this game, dropping numerous balls in the opening 30 minutes. But he stayed with them, and the passing game actually played a big part in putting Syracuse away down the stretch. Harris' final line: 8-of-16 for 157 yards, a score and no picks. That's not masterful, but it is a step forward. And Harris got to feel what it's like to contribute toward winning, on the road no less.
- On the injury front both Dupre, Hawkins and redshirt freshman lineman William Clapp exited the game for stretches. All three returned, though, and the latter two almost certainly seemed to be affected temporarily by cramps inside the AC-less Carrier Dome. Fournette left for a spell in the final stanza as well, but he returned to carry in the game's final possession.