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Thud: Syracuse Offense Falls Flat against Notre Dame

Photo courtesy Getty Images

Photo courtesy Getty Images

Another MetLife game, another Syracuse loss. The Orange falls to the Fighting Irish, 31-15. SU hung tough throughout the first quarter, but the Orange just didn’t take advantage of enough offensive opportunities. The defense forced Notre Dame’s first two turnovers of the season in a span of two series. All the Orange needed that quarter was a field goal to quiet the heavy Notre Dame crowd at the Meadowlands.

Once again the Orange offense was MIA, unable to covert points from what seemed to be a never-ending stream of Notre Dame turnovers. Instead, the Orange failed to score until a field goal midway through the second quarter. At that point, the Orange trailed the Irish 14-0. The Irish’s first score came on a long, methodical drive mostly put together by bubble screens and easy passes to get Everett Golson comfortable in the offense again. The next, however, came on a 73-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the drive.

Going into the half, the Orange appeared to have scored a defensive touchdown, only for the ball to be blown dead instead. The ball was never fully controlled by Golson, but the refs ruled it an incomplete pass on the field and therefore could not award SU with the touchdown after the fact. The Orange fans insider MetLife were understandably upset with the call, and the Orange trailed at the half 14-3.

SU could never quite get into a rhythm on offense, and this week will surely bring heat on George McDonald. Until a touchdown drive that ended at the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Orange wasn’t able to move the ball. Credit the Irish defense. Notre Dame came into the night having given up only three TDs all season. But Hunt struggled to move the football all game, and it seemed like McDonald’s offense was stripped down to its most rudimentary parts.

Given the success with the downfield passing the last few games, the Orange should strongly consider using it more in the coming weeks, especially against a Florida State secondary that looked suspect earlier Saturday against NC State.

Coming into the week, there was a question of who would fill Ashton Broyld’s spot as the junior sat out with an injury. It looks like that man will be Jarrod West. He and Hunt appeared to have found chemistry that many expected to see last season.

The Orange defense played well, but the unit was on the field too long, and was put on a short field twice towards the end of the game. It was simply too much for the defense to handle.

After the game, Coach Shafer gave high praise to Notre Dame. After the game, Shafer was big on not pointing fingers at a unit, rather “pointing thumbs” at themselves to see what they could do better. There was one prevailing message from the players:  they were all disappointed, and really couldn’t add much else.

The game seemed to take a lot out of the team as a whole. In the post game press conferences, there was a completely different vibe than last week. SU lost by two touchdowns both weeks, but nearly every player who stepped to the podium at MetLife was at a loss for words.

This is a very tough stretch coming up for the Orange. The Orange was competitive for a while, but needed to stay in the game a bit longer and have a shot to win in the fourth quarter. In the end, it was a two-score game, as predicted on Fizz Radio. SU had a stage, a huge platform. The Orange didn’t need to win for the program to be moving on the right track, but the team certainly needed to put up a better performance than they did tonight.

Posted:  Seth Goldberg

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