USA TODAY Sports-Mark Konezny

Syracuse gives LSU all they can handle, but Leonard Fournette is the difference

Syracuse hung around with LSU, but is unable to stop Leonard Fournette in the second half. The Orange lose their first of the season in the Carrier Dome.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Syracuse gave LSU everything they could handle, but the Tigers were able to make a couple of big plays in the fourth quarter to hang on and defeat the Orange 34-24. 

"I liked the efforts from our kids," head coach Scott Shafer said. "Too many big plays against a good team in LSU."

LSU kept trying to pull away from Syracuse, but the offense responded behind walk-on quarterback Zachary Mahoney. A 40-yard touchdown to Brisly Estime off of a freeze option play pulled Syracuse to within 17-10 after LSU had seemingly broken the game open with a 69-yard punt return touchdown by Tre'Davious White.

After a 62-yard Leonard Fournette scamper put the Tigers back up 14 on the next drive, Mahoney led the Orange to another score to shrink the margin.

He found Ben Lewis on a quick out on third and goal to cut the lead to seven early in the fourth quarter. But after the Syracuse defense forced LSU into a third and nine situation, quarterback Brandon Harris found Travin Dural on a 51-yard completion to set the Tigers up for another score. His pass was under-thrown on the deep post, but Julian Whigham was beaten in coverage and could not recover. 

"We left a lot of plays on the football field," Shafer said. "We were good enough to beat this football team. This team is a very good football team. We can beat 'em."

On the next play, Harris found Malachi Dupre on a fade to extend the lead to two scores once again. Mahoney threw an interception on a tipped pass on the next possession and the Tigers held on for the road victory. 

The Syracuse defense came to play in this one, despite allowing 244 yards rushing to Fournette. They held LSU to just seven first half points and had the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead multiple times. They finished with three tackles for loss and two sacks, but were unable to force a turnover. 

Syracuse rushed for 127 yards as a team, led by Mahoney with 40. Estime led the team in receiving yards with 50 on two catches. Mahoney threw for 154-yards with three touchdowns. and an interception. 

Despite the loss, it was more than a respectable showing for Syracuse, who looked very good on both sides of the ball for long stretches. They hung in there with a national championship contender deep into the fourth quarter. With a walk-on quarterback playing the entire game, and no major injuries appearing to have taken place, it was still a positive day for Syracuse football. 

The 43,101 fans that showed up were treated to an entertaining football game and made The Loud House live up to its monicker. 

"I'm disappointed," Shafer said. "I wanted to win this damn game for this town."

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