Syracuse 24, LSU 34 — What we learned

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Fournette led LSU past Syracuse

Syracuse lost its first game of the season, 34-24, against LSU. Here are a few thoughts from the game:

MAHONEY BOUNCES BACK IN SECOND HALF

Walk-on quarterback Zack Mahoney had a first half to forget. He completed just 5 of 13 passes for 35 yards and zero rushing yards, and had offensive coordinator Tim Lester threatening to bench him if he didn’t produce better results. It was clear that Mahoney was nervous, badly misfiring on several short throws. “There were some nerves in the first half,” Mahoney said. “And those nerves kind of messed up my motion a little bit.” But those nerves were gone in the second half, as Mahoney electrified the Carrier Dome, completing 11 of 25 passes for 119 yards, three touchdowns and 40 rushing yards. That included a nifty 40-yard bomb to Brisly Estime for a touchdown that pulled the Orange to within 7. “I feel like I played okay. Not nearly as well as I can and should,” Mahoney said. “I felt like as the game went on, I progressed with a lot of things.”

» Related: Syracuse hangs tough, but can’t top LSU

FOURNETTE MEETS LITTLE AFTER MONSTER GAME

Leonard Fournette was as good as advertised against Syracuse, as the early Heisman front-runner rushed for a career-high 244 yards and two touchdowns, which marks the first time in LSU history that a running back has posted back-to-back 200 yard games. “He’s very explosive,” Syracuse linebacker Zaire Franklin said. “His vision is up there. He’s able to read his line, and hit it full speed.” Afterward, Fournette met SU legend Floyd Little and took a photo with him. “He told me I did a great job and he was going to continue to pray for my success,” Fournette said. “Syracuse started Running Back U.”

IS THERE ANYTHING DIXON CAN’T DO?

Riley Dixon’s faux Heisman candidacy has hit a fevered pitch. Near the end of the first half, Syracuse sent Dixon out for a field goal attempt in a 4th down and 4-yard situation, which was odd given that Cole Murphy is SU’s normal place kicker. There was good reason, as Dixon took the snap and rushed toward the marker, hurdling LSU cornerback Kevin Toliver to notch the first down, reminiscent of his 42-yard fake punt last year against Notre Dame. Dixon celebrated by pumping his fist in the air, nearly hitting Jamal Adams in the helmet. Adams threw his hand in the air, perhaps attempting to draw a flag like he has in the past. No dice, though. While it invigorated the crowd, Murphy eventually missed a 31-yarder to close the half. Meanwhile, Dixon boomed five punts for 228 yards, and pinned LSU three times inside the 20. #DixonForHeisman.

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Wes Cheng

About Wes Cheng

Wes has worked for Rivals.com covering the New York Knicks, as well as for Scout.com covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also worked for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005. Follow him on Twitter @ChengWes.
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