When the clock hit triple zeros at MetLife Stadium Saturday afternoon, many Syracuse fans were left scratching their heads. This was the Orange’s chance to pick up a marquee win against a historically elite program that has been limping along in recent weeks.
Notre Dame entered the season as the 10th ranked team in the country, but entered this contest 1-3 and fresh off firing its defensive coordinator. With the team in shambles and people calling for Brian Kelly’s job, the Irish put up a half century spot on the Orange in the 50-33 win. However, SU fans may have set the bar too high for this matchup.
Syracuse went punch for punch with Notre Dame to start the game, but a couple small miscues allowed the Irish to jump out to a 23-13 lead just five minutes into the game.
The fact is, Notre Dame has multiple future first round picks on their roster. Meanwhile, Syracuse may not have anyone on their roster that will be drafted next April. The talent disparity was clearly displayed through guys like Equanimeous St. Brown and DeShone Kizer. There was no way that a banged up secondary, that already is not that strong, was going to keep up with the studs the Irish features on offense.
On offense, we’ve come to expect the gaudy numbers that come as a result of the volume of plays run. Eric Dungey has thrown for 350 or more yards in all but one game this season. However, Dungey did not turn the ball over despite having 68 touches (51 passes, 17 rushes). His ability to protect the ball was crucial to the Orange’s offensive success and will be essential for the team’s future. Dungey was able to spread the ball around to his receivers. SU had seven players with multiple receptions. The Oregon native was able to involve guys like Ervin Phillips and Steve Ishmael who combined for 11 catches and 135 yards. And of course, Amba Etta-Tawo continued to put up Biletnikoff-worthy numbers with 134 yards on seven receptions.
If you’re not one for moral victories, then this game ended in disappointment. But the fact is, SU flirted with a top 10 caliber team and that’s no small feat.