For the fourth consecutive week, the Syracuse Orange played a great football game. For the first time in those four weeks, however, they left the field with tick in the loss column. Hosting the 8th-ranked LSU Tigers, the Orange hung tough throughout the game, staying within 10 points throughout much of the game. In the end, the Orange lost to a final score of 34-24, which leaves them with a 3-1 record heading into their bye week.
All week, the hot topic surrounding the team was whether freshman phenom Eric Dungey would play. Unfortunately, Dungey sat out, which led the Orange to start Zack Mahoney, a junior college transfer who was the team’s fifth starting quarterback heading into preseason. While Mahoney is no Dungey, he held his own against a dominant LSU defense. On top of Mahoney’s performance, the Orange played extremely well and were able to stay within winning distance with one of the best teams in the nation for about 55 minutes of the game.
All season long, the Orange have ran the ball with effectiveness. In this game, they were unable to do that. Running the ball well would've kept Leonard Fournette and company off the field. It also would’ve made things easier for Mahoney. However, even though the Orange won the time of possession battle and had more first downs, they were unable to establish a consistent running game all day and it showed, as LSU’s running game ran the football 42 times for 268 yards. The combination of Jordan Fredericks and George Morris II only ran for 58 yards, but it still should be said that they were playing SEC defensive linemen. It will be interesting to see if this duo can get back on track in two weeks against South Florida.
It’s a bit unfair to call this the ugly, given the skill level of Leonard Fournette, but the Heisman candidate simply ran through tackles in this game. No. 7 ran the football 26 times for 244 yards and two touchdowns. Before this game however, the run defense, led by Zaire Franklin, has been a strength for this Syracuse team. However, the biggest ugly in this game was their special teams. Not only did the Orange miss a field goal right before half, which would've gave them more momentum, they also led up a touchdown on a punt return.
The Orange will stay at home for another week as they will go on their bye. After that, they will have their first road contest against the South Florida Bulls. This game will be the last non-conference game on the 2015 slate.