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SEC roundup: LSU avoids upset

The No. 8 LSU Tigers rolled into the Carrier Dome to take on the Syracuse Orange in a game that many believed would be a one-sided contest. Instead, LSU struggled to put the Orange away in the non-conference affair, finally pulling away to a 34-24 victory.

The Tigers could get nothing going in the first half outside of the running of Leonard Fournette, who is the front-runner to win the Heisman Trophy. The sophomore piled up more than 100 rushing yards and a touchdown in the first 30 minutes, staking LSU to a small 7-3 lead at halftime. Syracuse had a chance to cut the lead to one point on the final play of the half, only to miss a 31-yard field goal.

The quarterback play on both sides was lacking. LSU would likely be a co-favorite with the Ohio State Buckeyes to win the national championship if it had any real play from under center. Instead, the Tigers are stuck with Brandon Harris, who went 8-of-16 for 157 yards and a touchdown. However, to Harris’ credit, he did not turn the ball over.

On the other side was Zack Mahoney. Mahoney is a fifth-string quarterback for Syracuse, presed into duty because of an insane amount of injuries. The youngster was only able to complete 16-of-38 for 154 yards, albeit with three touchdowns and one interception. Mahoney is not going to remind anybody of Donovan McNabb, but against a brutal LSU defense, he was not deplorable.

The star of the game was Fournette, who reeled off 244 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 9.4 yards per carry. Fournette also had an 80-yard touchdown run called back because of an illegal formation penalty. With Fournette in the backfield, the Tigers have a legitimate shot of winning the SEC and playing for the national title.

Elsewhere in the SEC…

The game of the day was in The Swamp with the Florida Gators taking on the Tennessee Volunteers. Florida was trailing 27-14 with under six minutes remaining before storming back to score two touchdowns within four minutes of each other. Tennessee had one final chance, but barely missed a game-winning 55-yard field goal as time expired, giving the Gators a 4-0 record.

The No. 7 Georgia Bulldogs took on Southern between the hedges and got up 17-0 before rolling to a 48-6 win over the overmatched foe. Georgia will have a much tougher test next week, when it takes on the No. 12 Alabama Crimson Tide. Speaking of the Tide, Alabama was able to dispatch Louisiana-Lafayette, 34-0, with quarterback Jake Coker throwing three touchdowns.

The Ole Miss Rebels did not exactly look like the third-ranked team in the land in a 27-16 win over the Vanderbilt Commodores, but a victory will suffice. The star was receiver Laquon Treadwell, who caught eight passes for 135 yards.

The No. 14 Texas A&M Aggies were able to dispatch the Arkansas Razorbacks at AT&T Stadium, 28-21, in overtime. Meanwhile in Kentucky, the Wildcats bounced back from a disappointing defeat against the Florida Gators o upset the No. 25 Missouri Tigers, 21-13.

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