Notre Dame vs. Syracuse Prediction, Game Preview

    Notre Dame vs. Syracuse prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins between the Fighting Irish and Orange at MetLife Stadium on Saturday.

    September 26, 2016

    Notre Dame vs. Syracuse prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins between the Fighting Irish and Orange at MetLife Stadium on Saturday.


    Notre Dame vs. Syracuse Game Preview

    When: Saturday, October 1 – Noon ET
    Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
    TV Broadcast: ESPN

    The Fighting Irish (1-3) will travel to East Rutherford, N.J., to play the Orange (2-2, 0-1 ACC) in the first of three neutral-site games they will play this season. ND is coming off of a disastrous home loss to Duke, which allowed the Irish to complete 10 passes of 20 yards or more but forced three Irish turnovers to aid in the win. The Orange, meanwhile, are enjoying their win over UConn, which allowed a late 99-yard drive to Dino Babers’ team in a 31-24 ‘Cuse win.

    Syracuse is 3-4 all-time against the Irish, including a 31-15 setback two seasons ago.

    What To Know About Notre Dame

    Fighting Irish fans could not have envisioned a more disastrous start to the new season. Brian Kelly’s squad is eliminated from College Football Playoff contention, and defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder was dismissed after the loss to the Blue Devils last week. What can fans expect the rest of the way? Making a bowl right now is no guarantee, and the young Irish secondary could use the extra 15 practices that come with a postseason appearance. The Irish jumped out to a 14-0 lead against the Blue Devils but could not keep the foot on the gas pedal, and Kelly said afterward that nearly every position will be up for grabs moving forward. Could we even see quarterback Brandon Wimbush this fall?

    What to Know About Syracuse

    Amba Etta-Tawo, who came to ‘Cuse as a graduate transfer from Maryland, caught 12 passes for a school-record 270 yards and two touchdowns to help the Orange beat UConn 31-24 last week, giving him four straight games with at least 100 receiving yards. Eric Dungey completed 26 of 40 passes for 407 yards, and it was a performance that may have hinted at an Orange breakthrough. The ‘Cuse even had a goal-line stop in the fourth quarter, which is nothing new for the Huskies (see: Navy).

    Advantages

    Offense: Even. Right now, one could argue that Syracuse is better in sync offensively. The Irish will be able to move the football, but it’s a unit that still wants to be better balanced.

    Defense: Syracuse. It seems crazy to give the Orange the advantage, but VanGorder was fired and Nyles Morgan recorded the team’s first sack of the season in the fourth game. A lack of pass rush plus a green secondary has been a recipe for disaster for the Irish.

    Special Teams: Syracuse. The Irish let Duke’s Shaun Wilson return a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown last week, and it served to spark the Blue Devils after Notre Dame jumped to its 14-0 lead.

    Coaching: Even. It’s a rough stretch for Kelly and the Irish right now. How will his team respond to serious adversity?

    Intangibles: Syracuse. The Orange will see a lot of Notre Dame fans in the crowd, of course, but this is an opportunity for Babers to make a statement in just his first year. A win against Notre Dame is always a positive because of the name-value recognition.

    Matchup To Watch

    Etta-Tawo vs. ND secondary

    Etta-Tawo is an elite receiver. UConn defensive back Jamar Summers is not chopped liver, yet he was a main culprit in Etta-Tawo becoming the only Syracuse receiver to record two 200-yard receiving games in the same season after his monster effort against the Huskies. Irish freshman cornerback Donte Vaughn had a spotty day against Duke, but he also made some plays. He will have to be at his best this week, along with Cole Luke, Julian Love and Nick Coleman. ND’s secondary will be tested all day long.

    Betting Odds

    Spread: Notre Dame -12
    Over/Under: N/A

    Notre Dame vs. Syracuse Prediction

    The Irish will absolutely give up their fair share of yards and points in this one. It’s a very wounded defensive unit, both mentally and physically. But I think DeShone Kizer will play angry and have a huge day, helping the Irish get a much-needed win. However, ND’s tackling needs to be much better than it was against Duke or else Syracuse will be able to bust several big plays.

    Notre Dame vs. Syracuse Score Prediction: Notre Dame 38, Syracuse 29

    MORE: 1-128 College Football Rankings – Week 5

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