LSU football: Syracuse breakdown with Inside the Loud House


Our friends at Inside the Loud House help us break down Saturday’s matchup between the LSU football team and Syracuse Orange at the Carrier Dome. 

The LSU football team has yet to begin its non-conference schedule, despite being in Week 4 of the college football season, but that will change this weekend. The Tigers are headed up north for a showdown with the Syracuse Orange at the Carrier Dome on Saturday.

Both teams enter the game undefeated, but only one enters the game with much certainty. Syracuse will be starting its third quarterback of 2015 this week, as Zack Mahoney fills in for the injured Eric Dungey.

Meanwhile, LSU is fresh off a 45-21 beatdown of Auburn, during which running back Leonard Fournette emerged as an early-season Heisman Trophy frontrunner.

In order to gain better insight into what to expect from Saturday’s game between the Orange and the Tigers, we spoke with David Stone, editor of Inside the Loud House. Here is what he had to say.

What are the expectations surrounding Zack Mahoney heading into his first career start?

The expectations are mixed for Mahoney. He looked great running the option last week and threw a few crisp passes, but other than that there isn’t much to go off of. He’s technically Syracuse’s 4th string quarterback, and when you get that low on the depth charts, it’s hard to really predict how he’ll do. I have to imagine SU will try and make the offense very run-heavy to ease him into the game. Expect to see a lot of the triple option and lots of short screen passes at the start of the game.

Brisly Estime has established himself to be a reliable playmaker for the Orange this season. What is the biggest asset that he brings to the table?

The easy answer on Estime is that he’s got speed. But I don’t think that’s what sets him apart. It’s his field vision. That’s why he’s the punt/kick returner, and why he has 1 TD (nearly 2) on returns already. Even in the passing game, his big play came on somewhat of a busted play where he adjusted his route when he saw Dungey was in trouble. It’s that vision and awareness that makes him a special player, and someone that will make waves all season.

Leonard Fournette has completely dominated opposing defenses this season, compiling 387 rushing yards and six touchdowns through two games. How will the Orange attempt to slow him down?

To be completely honest, I’m not so sure anyone can slow down Fournette. The guy is just an absolute monster at running back. There’s a reason that head coach Scott Schafer has compared him to Earl Campbell. Fournette is fast, powerful, and has a strong sense of where the gaps will be in the defense. If Syracuse is going to slow him down, they will need to put 8-9 players in the box and commit to gang tackling. I don’t think anyone on Syracuse will be able to bring him down one-on-one in the open field

Do you see Jordan Frederick being able to find success against a stout LSU run defense?

I think Fredericks has all the tools to be successful, but the bottom line is that the offensive line needs to consistently block for him. This season Syracuse has run the ball well, but there have been times where the offensive line has been beaten and the run game has suffered. They haven’t faced a defense in the same league as LSU, so it will be a massive challenge for the offense to win at the line of scrimmage. If they can manage that, Fredericks is incredibly quick, has good vision, and great speed. Give him an inch and he can bust a long play.

What will Syracuse have to do if they are going to have a chance on Saturday?

To have a chance on Saturday, Syracuse needs to play pretty much the perfect game. Not having Eric Dungey behind center is a big loss, but considering he’s only played a bit over two college games himself, I can’t say not having him kills SU’s chances. I still think they can stay competitive. They need to be committed to stopping the run, but also be aware of Harris’ arm and not let him beat them over the top. They will have a lot of one-on-one coverage on the outside, and SU’s corners need to step up and stop being afraid to play tight coverage. Add in a couple big plays from the offense or special teams and anything can happen.

Give us your final predictions for the game:

My final predictions for the game are mixed. As a fan, I can’t possibly pick against them, however if I’m talking as an unbiased observer, I’d be hard-pressed to see them keeping it close against a very dominant LSU team. At the end of the day, the fan in me supersedes the pragmatist in me when it comes to predictions, so I will take SU on a last second field goal, 20-17. I gotta believe.

Next: Five non-conference games that need to happen

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