East Rutherford, N.J.: A quick take on Syracuse’s 31-15 one-sided defeat against Notre Dame Saturday night, on a beautiful fall evening in front of an enthusiastic pro-Irish crowd of 76,802, the biggest for a college football game in the five year history of MetLife Stadium:
WHAT HAPPENED: Playing for a third straight season as the home team at MetLife Stadium, and wearing its new steel grey uniforms with orange chrome helmets, Syracuse fans were clearly outnumbered by the famous Notre Dame Subway alumni who loudly cheered on their beloved Irish to victory. Down 14-3 at the half after an Orange fumble recovery for an apparent touchdown was ruled a dead ball late in the second quarter, Syracuse (2-2) could not muster enough offense in the second half against the quick and attacking ND defense. Despite winning the turnover battle with three fumble recoveries and an interception, SU could not turn those turnovers into points.
ANALYSIS: Time and time again Notre Dame (4-0) exploited the Syracuse defense by having quarterback Everett Golson successfully pass underneath, hitting eight different receivers to set up the running game. ND wore down a Syracuse defense that played respectable until giving up two second half touchdowns that sealed the Irish win. Points were at a premium for a Syracuse offense that moved the ball between the 20 yard lines, but could not get into the end zone when the game was still on the line.
HERO: Notre Dame senior quarterback Golson was a thorn in the Orange defense all night, running and throwing. At one point in the second half Golson had 26 consecutive pass completions to tie the FBS record for one game, on top of his 32 for 39 performance for 362 yards passing and four scores, including a beautiful 72 yard touchdown play to Will Fuller in the second quarter. SU got one back on Golson when Durrell Eskridge returned an interception 29 yards for a score with 5:09 left.
ZERO: The Orange offense had trouble getting going all night with just three first half points, and a Terrel Hunt seven yard burst for a score on the first play of the fourth quarter, only to have Cole Murphy’s PAT blocked. Murphy also missed a 37 yard field goal with under 8:00 minutes to play.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse returns home to face ACC newcomer Louisville on Friday night Oct. 3 in the Dome. The Cardinals (4-1. 2-1) knocked off Wake Forest Saturday 20-10. The last time the two teams met was 2012 as members of the Big East when SU posted a 45-26 win over No. 11 UL in a raucous Dome. Game Time: 7:00 ET / TV: ESPN.
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