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Deke: Coach Orgeron's recap on Mississippi State, on to the Orange

Deke Bellavia
September 20, 2017 - 10:00 am
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Each week I'm fortunate enough to sit down and visit with LSU Football Coach Ed Orgeron.  Coach O and I discuss the previous week's game, what his thoughts are and on to the next opponent.  Coach Oregeron, like many Tigers sans, was not pleased with last week's 7-37 loss to Mississippi State.


"Too many stupid mistakes.  It all starts with me.  I take full responsibility for that," Orgeron said.  Coach O said he could tell right after the game his team was displeased with their performance.


"We had so many players come in Sunday and workout and to me that says the players want to get back to work, correct the mistakes and focus on Syracuse."


And speaking of SU, Orgeron has a history with the Orange.  Having been a defensive line coach for Syracuse, Coach O is grateful for his time in upstate NY.


"I was at Nicholls State and I got hired at Syracuse.  I learned a lot while I was there, coached some great players and we won some big games."


Now Coach O and the Tigers are preparing for the Orange and they are working on playing LSU Tigers Football.  Orgeron said making sure the right fits are taking place, being more balanced on offense and topping the list of correctable things is cleaning up the penalties.


"We have to understand penalties only hurt our chances of being successful.  We must fix that.  And I'd like to see us be more balanced on offense.  Rushing and passing the football equally on a regular basis is something we need to strive to do."


Orgeron gave high praise to his next foe and their coach.  

"Dino Baber's is doing a great job.  This team is sound on offense, they have the nations 6th best 3rd down defense.  And they have an excellent kick returner.  We have to prepare well and get ready to play our best."  

So on to the Orange it is for the 2-1 Tigers.  Let's take a look at Syracuse.  


Behind Enemy Lines:  LSU’s next foe, Syracuse

Coach:  Dino Babers
Record: 2-1
Conference:  Atlantic Coastal (ACC)
Mascot:  Orange
 
The Orange and Tigers will meet for the fourth time in school history with LSU owning a 2-1 record over SU.  Syracuse comes to Tiger Stadium with a 2-1 record having earned wins over Central Connecticut State and Central Michigan.  But the Orange did suffer a week two set back falling 23-30 to the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders.  
The Orange are 12-15 overall in road openers in school history.  Syracuse is trying to snap the nation’s longest non-conference home win streak.  LSU has won 48 straight non-conference home games.  LSU’s last loss to a non-conference foe in Death Valley was all the way back in 2000 when the Blazers of UAB upset the Tigers 10-13.  
Let’s go behind Enemy Lines and learn more about the Tigers upcoming opponent the Syracuse Orange.  
 
The Syracuse Offense


Syracuse has an up-tempo style offense.  Co-Offensive Coordinators Sean Lewis and Mike Lynch has put together a pretty versatile group on the offensive side of the football for SU.  In their first three games the Orange goal of running as many plays as they possibly can has worked more than not.


Syracuse has run 93, 93, 79 plays on offense in each of their first three games of the season meaning that the LSU defense will have to get off the field as the Orange look to wear their opponents down.  


Syracuse is averaging 38 points per game.  The Orange gain 491 total yards per game, including 193.7 rushing yards and 297.3 passing yards.  The Orange have converted on 3rd down 25-of-59 times for 42.3 %.  


Top offensive players included WR Steve Ishmael.  Ishmael leads the nation with an impressive 11.3 receptions per ball game.  QB Eric Dungy is off to a solid start this season.  Dungy was around two years ago when the Tigers faced the Orange


Dungy has put up nearly one thousand yards of offense in three games as the signal callers has completed 73-of-113 passes for 787 yards and he has rushed for 209 yards.  Dungy has nine total TD’s in three games.


Running backss Moe Neal and Dontae Strickland give the Orange balance in the running game.  Neal has carried the ball 19 times for 116 yards while Strickland has chipped in 111 yards on 37 carries.  The Orange O-Line is a youthful bunch with four of their five interior linemen being underclassmen.


Key Stat:  Keep an eye on the Orange if and when they enter the Tigers red zone.  The SU Offense is one of the best in the nation when entering the red zone.  The Orange has scored on 17 of their 18 trips inside their opponents Red Zone.  SU has scored 10 TD’s and seven Field Goals.  If the Orange are going to hang around and give LSU a game they will have to continue being effective in the Red Zone.  
 
The Orange Defense


Syracuse allows 18 points per game, 84.3 (10th in NCAA) rushing yards per contest.  And the Orange Defense has not surrendered a run of 20 yards or more thru three games this season.   219.7 passing which comes to 304 yards of total offense per outing.  The Orange have one of the best 3rd down defensive units in all of college football.


Syracuse has allowed only 7-of-43 (16.3%) on 3rd downs this season, which is #2 in the ACC; and it ranks 6th nationally. The Orange's strong suit on the defensive side of the football is at linebacker.


Veteran LBs Parris Bennett and Zaire Franklin are the leaders on the Orange D.  Franklin is a senior middle linebacker while the weakside LB is Parris Bennett.  Defensive coordinator Brian Ward has made a noticeable improvement with his defense particularly in the areas of 3rd down defense and limiting big plays.


The Orange Defense ranks 6th in the nation in 3rd Down Defense as teams have converted just 7-of-43 times for a dismal 16.3%.  And the Orange have been able to limit their opponents' big plays, as they have not allowed a run over 20 yards or more in three straight games.  


Key Stat:  Coach Brian Ward has his Orange Defensive Players taking the ball away at a consistent level.  Through three games, SU has created seven takeaways.  The seven takeaways forced is ranked 2nd in the ACC and 14th in the nation.  


Special Teams


Kicker Cole Murphy has made seven of his eight field goal attempts.  Murphy’s longest FG made is a 41 yard FG he made in the SU 41-17 win over Central Michigan.  But Murphy has been inconsistent at times.


In week two when SU loss 23-30 to Middle Tennessee, Cole Murphy missed a FG and also missed an extra point (PAT).  The senior kicker has made 11 of 12 PAT’s and has scored a total of 32 points through three games this season.  Punter Sterling Hofrichter has Punted 14 times and he averages 46.1 yards per Punt with his longest Punt of the season being a 64 yarder.  


The Orange have one the ACC’s premier kick returners.  Sean Riley leads the Atlantic Coastal Conference, averaging an impressive 32.4 yards per kickoff return.  Riley’s longest KR was last week when he ran back a kick 64 yards in the Orange win over CMU.  Riley ranks 11th in the nation in kick returns.  
 

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