Syracuse faces arguably their most talented opponent of the season in the LSU Tigers. What should the Orange expect to see from the SEC power? We break them down below.
Scouting the Offense
The LSU offense is predicted on the rushing attack. They like to run both out of power formations with a fullback and tight end as well as out of spread formations with three or four wide receivers. They have a big, talented and physical offensive line that aids their ground game and is also solid in pass protection. They do not throw often, but when they do, it is primarily quick screens, slants and other short passes. They act almost as an extension of the running game, but also to keep things conservative and limit mistakes.
|FB||John David Moore|
RE Leonard Fournette: Is there a better play in college football than Forunette? The answer may very well be no. He comes in averaging over eight yards per carry. Fournette has elite speed, superior strength, uncanny vision and excellent footwork. Fournette is the engine that makes the LSU offense run.
C Ethan Pocic: A smart, strong interior lineman, Pocic may be the best LSU has up front and is skilled at helping to open up lanes for Fournette to run through. Stopping Fournette starts with getting through Pocic.
QB Brandon Harris: Harris does not throw it often, and when he does, it is often short, high percentage throws. Despite the conservative approach the LSU coaching staff has with him, Harris is a superb athlete who does a lot of damage with his feet. He picks up nearly nine yards per carry and has two rushing touchdowns this season.
The clear weakness of the LSU offense is the passing attack. They have big time athletes on the outside and certainly have enough playmakers, but Harris is not yet an elite passer. If pressured, he can struggle with accuracy down the field. Through two games, he has only picked up 145 yards through the air. The key for Syracuse is to exploit this weakness for forcing LSU into third and long situations.
Make no mistake about it. LSU has supreme talent all over the field with speed and athleticism oozing from every player. The offensive line is stout, they have the best running back in college football and have some talented, speedy wideouts as well. They may be the most talented unit the Orange will face this season.
Scouting the Defense
LSU uses a 4-3 base defense technically. However, this season they have been using the nickel look as their primary defensive lineup regardless of opposing personnel. This helps mitigate the lack of depth at the linebacker position. The Tigers' defense is long, athletic and fast. They do bring pressure somewhat frequently and play a lot of man coverage in the secondary.
CB Kevin Toliver: Toliver is a long, rangy corner with speed and strength. He is a very talented corner who will likely be matched up with Steve Ishmael. Not only can he cover with the best of them, but he can come down in run support if needed as well.
MLB Kendell Beckwith: Beckwith is a downhill linebacker who loves to stuff the run, but is athletic enough to play in coverage if needed or even surprise with a blitz. With Syracuse needing to establish the run on Saturday if their offense is going to move the ball, limiting Beckwith would be a good start.
DT Davon Godchaux: Godchaux is arguably the best defensive lineman for LSU on a very talented front four. He is big, strong and has a quick first step. Expect him to be in the Syracuse backfield multiple times on Saturday.
Among the starters, it is hard to pick out a glaring weakness. However, LSU lacks depth among their front seven. So if Syracuse can start pushing tempo, they have the potential to wear down the Tigers. But if they cannot, the LSU defense will simply overwhelm the Orange.
The Tigers have NFL talent all over their defense at all three levels. They have ballhawking safeties and shut down corners, speedy linebackers and athletic linemen. The Syracuse offense has their work cut out for them, especially since they will most likely be without Eric Dungey. LSU has also had a lot of success against mobile quarterbacks over the past several seasons.
Scouting the Special Teams
K Trent Domingue: Domingue has only hade one field goal all season on his only attempt. He has above average accuracy and a solid leg, but is still largely untested.
KR Donte Jackson: Jackson is averaging less than 20 yards per return, but has the speed to take one to the house at any moment.
PR Tre'Davious White: White is averaging a respectible 8.3 yards per punt return. He is athletic, shifty and fast. He is a threat for a big return.