By JAMES MORAN | Tiger Rag Associate Editor
STOCK UP: Big Receivers
With the offense stuck in neutral, LSU’s oft-discussed crew of tall, talented, underclassmen receivers stepped up with the two plays that kept the turned a 7-3 lead into 21-3. Stephen Sullivan broke free over the middle on a deep crossing route and Danny Etling hit him in stride for a 43-yard touchdown just before halftime. Etling then went deep on the first play of the second half and dropped a dime to Drake Davis on the deep post for an 87-yard scoring strike. Those two need to take on bigger roles if LSU is going to make big plays in the passing game.
STOCK UP: Corporal Punishment
Bringing referees to practice every day didn’t quite do the trick. Coaches harping on mental focus didn’t clean up the flags, either. Finally, it seems running gassers did the trick. LSU went penalty free in the first half — quite a feat for one of the most heavily-penalized teams in college football — and didn’t get flagged once until Arden Key got called for being offside. A fourth-quarter roughing the passer call led to a touchdown, but overall three penalties for 25 yards is still a considerable step in the right direction for a team that averaged more than 90 yards per game in penalties through three games (30 for 272 yards).
STOCK DOWN: Punting (both ways)
Punter Josh Growden appeared to lose his job after shanking two of his first three punts. He averaged 34.7 yards per kick before being relieved of his duties. Walk-on Zach Von Rosenberg was a lone bright spot for LSU on special teams, coming up with a 49-yard boot on his first meaning punt to pin Syracuse inside its own 20. On the flip side, DJ Chark had one adventure after another fielding punts. He let one go that rolled down to the LSU 1-yard line, setting the stage for a safety and Syracuse’s 16-0 push in the second half.
STOCK DOWN: Pass Protection
Danny Etling must’ve felt like he was having a bad flashback to his days at Purdue, where he got sacked 42 times in 13 games played. Syracuse pressured Etling six times in his first seven dropbacks with one sack — it could’ve been four, honestly. The Orange harassed Etling throughout most of the first half before LSU adjusted and went to more three-step drops and short passes late in the second quarter. Still, the fact that the offensive line couldn’t hold its own against Syracuse doesn’t bold well for coming games with Florida, Auburn and Alabama.