Syracuse’s grand finale at MetLife stadium ends on a sour note losing to the Fighting Irish 50-33.
On an overcast day in the Meadowlands, the Orange and the Fighting Irish offense showed up to the game on time despite their defenses being five minutes late. In the first five minutes, the two college teams scored five touchdowns with little to no contest from either defenses. Just 18 seconds in, Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer found wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown for a 79-yard touchdown.
Yet the Orange quickly responded two minutes later to get on the board. Eric Dungey would rush up the middle to get the touchdown. Yet the special teams flaws of the game began with a blocked extra point. Notre Dame would run the blocked point back to rack another two points. After the run back, Syracuse would never see a tie nor a lead in the entire game.
Heading into the second half, the Orange was just three points behind the Fighting Irish. Yet Notre Dame would dominate starting four minutes in. On a drive that totaled 1:41, Kizer would connect with wide receiver Kevin Stepherson for a 54-yard pass. The Orange would fail to score and the Fighting Irish would have another big play in the third quarter. Dexter Williams would run for 59 yards charging through the Syracuse defenders to score another touchdown.
The loss came with many flaws on the Syracuse defense and special teams. Syracuse defense would allow Kizer to throw 471 passing yards getting close to surpassing the school record of 555 yards allowed. A record held by Louisville’s Brian Brohm. Overall, Notre Dame would have three unanswered scoring plays in the second half.
“That is a very, very young defense with a lot of young players on it,” Coach Babers said about the Syracuse defense. “And they’re going against 21, 22-year-old guys, we have to give them time to grow up.”
Special teams were a big factor in the loss as well. Besides the first blocked extra point, Sterling Hofrichter would shank a punt soon after for a mere 14-yard punt. Where the kickers had flaws, Brisly Estime made up for it on the receiving side. Estime would have three returns for 128 yards. One of his returns, a 38-yard return, had Estime charging through the defenders breaking tackles left and right.
Syracuse looks to redeem themselves at their next contest against Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It will be their third straight road game before heading back to the Carrier Dome.