Sophomore walk-on Zack Mahoney will make his first career start for the Syracuse Orange (3-0, 3-0 home) this weekend. It has to be an exciting feeling for a kid who, just last year, was playing ju-co in DuPage, Illinois. Unfortunately for Mahoney, his first big taste of NCAA football action will come against SEC powerhouse the LSU Tigers (2-0, 1-0 away) this Saturday at the Carrier Dome (12:00 PM Eastern).
Syracuse is currently tied atop the ACC East after they pulled out a 30-27 OT win over Central Michigan last week. It proved something of a Pyrrhic victory, though, as the team lost starting QB Eric Dungey in the process. Mahoney split time with Austin Wilson going 4 of 4 for 19 yards through the air and adding 12 more on the ground.
While offensive coordinator Tim Lester is confident the Orange can run the same game plan against the Tigers, it’s likely that won’t matter much anyways.
Syracuse if off to this somewhat surprising start because they’ve been winning the turnover battle. But this LSU offense does not give up the football. Leonard Fournette has been running like a madman, totaling 387 yards and six TDs in his first two games, but still protects the football like I protect a meatball sub. The sophomore Heisman contender has only lost one fumble in his entire career, and if Syracuse wants to keep this game close, they’ll need to generate takeaways somehow.
There is some reason for bettors to be a bit concerned, though, especially given the massive 24.5-point spread. Thanks to their opening game getting cancelled, this is LSU’s first non-conference game of the season, and they could relish the opportunity to get some other players some action in a low-stakes game that figures to be over early.
That said, Fournette and the offense should have a field day, similar to the hammering they dished out last weekend to then-no. 18 Auburn. That game ended as a 24-point blowout and it’s hard to like ‘Cuse to keep it as close, especially with a kid making his first ever start. Take LSU to cover.
Pick: LSU -24.5.
(Photo Credit: Connor Tarter (Originally posted to Flickr)[https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/].)