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Staff Predictions: Syracuse

| Friday, November 16, 2018

Tobias Hoonhout — Managing Editor

Few would’ve thought this year’s Shamrock Series would be the marquee late-season matchup on Notre Dame’s schedule.

But with both Florida State and USC struggling this season, No. 12 Syracuse has suddenly become the best chance to knock off the undefeated Irish.
The Orange feature an up-tempo offense that has played well this year, and almost pulled off a shock-upset on the road in Clemson earlier this year, while the Irish will be happy to welcome back Ian Book to get the offense back to clicking on all cylinders.
Statistically, this looks to be a pretty even matchup. Ultimately, I think it will come down to the play of both quarterbacks. If the Irish front seven can contain Eric Dungey’s dual-threat abilities, and Ian Book can step back under center without missing a beat, there’s no way the Orange hang with Brian Kelly’s team.
While the Notre Dame jerseys may be a nightmare, I don’t think the play will match.
FINAL: Notre Dame 38, Syracuse 20

Elizabeth Greason — Assistant Managing Editor

With every game, I get more and more nervous. But at the same time, when I watch Notre Dame play, I’m reminded that this is a very good team.

The added level of hype and distraction around the Shamrock Series make me nervous, as well, but, at the same time, the Irish are undefeated in the Series. Ian Book is (supposedly) healthy, and Notre Dame’s offense is ready to go up against one of the top run defenses in the country. It has faced some of the better ones before and proved victorious, so assuming Book can throw the ball against the Orange, points shouldn’t be an issue.

Defensively, I’m not concerned about anything the Orange can throw at Notre Dame. Have you seen Julian Okwara and Te’von Coney lately? Unstoppable. Eric Dungey will be able to put points on the board, for sure, but he won’t impose his will.

FINAL: Notre Dame 31, Syracuse 24

Joe Everett — Sports Editor

The last time Notre Dame played in a baseball stadium, it scraped out a close 19-16 win against Boston College at Fenway Park.

Now, the Irish will take on Syracuse inside Yankee Stadium. Will it be another defensive nail-biter? I don’t think so.

The Irish are two wins away from qualifying for the College Football Playoff, and I think they’re going to come out focused and ready to play.
The key to stopping quarterback Eric Dungey and the Syracuse offense will be applying pressure, and I have every confidence in the defensive line to get the job done. On offense, the Irish should find a lot of success against a Syracuse defense that has given up a lot of chunk plays this year. Dexter Williams and the Irish running back is the best its been after the injury to Alex Bars, and quarterback Ian Book is back at the helm. Maybe I’m optimistic, but I think the Irish control this one.
FINAL: Notre Dame 45, Syracuse 23

Charlotte Edmonds — Associate Sports Editor

With every game that passes by and win the Irish rack up, I’m struck by the various ways they’ve managed to continue this undefeated streak, with new units stepping up each weekend. Now’s the time for that all to come together.

With questions looming regarding Notre Dame’s strength of schedule, Saturday’s game against Syracuse will be the opportunity for them to silence those doubters and I expect them to comfortably rise to the occasion.

This is not to discredit Syracuse. They’re a good team who’ve far exceeded expectations. Unfortunately for the Orange though, that can only take them so far. This team has proven that they can hang with the elite, taking Clemson down to the wire, while also stumbling against a lackluster North Carolina team, barely pulling out the win. Experience will win out on Saturday. With the emergence of the receiving unit in the latter half of the season, combined with the steady dominance of Dexter Williams and the strong showing expected by Notre Dame fans, this could be one of those games talked about for years to come as having solidified Notre Dame’s return to the elite field.

FINAL: Notre Dame 38, Syracuse 24

Connor Mulvena — Associate Sports Editor

I don’t like the mojo surrounding this game for the Irish. They moved it from a home game to Yankee Stadium, which seems like a strange move. It certainly seems like one of those Notre Dame moves that could come back to bite the program in the behind later on. Also, there hasn’t really been that crazy late season big upset this season (I wouldn’t count Ohio State’s loss to Purdue in this category), and I fear it’s coming soon for someone. And I absolutely loathe these uniforms, but that’s another topic for another day.

Syracuse wasn’t one of those teams you’d expect Notre Dame to have to worry about in the beginning of the season. It’s a strange world when Florida State without Ian Book is no concern but Syracuse at Yankee Stadium is a worry. But Syracuse is a great football team — their offense is stellar, and their defense is up there with some fantastic squads, ranking 20th in the nation in defensive efficiency.
Syracuse’s claim to success this year seems to be its offense’s ability to spread things out. Senior quarterback Eric Dungey has proven he can beat you with the long ball, so the Notre Dame defense will face a new challenge this week. Most likely, the key to a victory for Notre Dame will come from its defensive line, considering Syracuse’s penchant for spreading things out in the air. Luckily for the Irish, their defensive line is probably the best thing they’ve got going for them, which is why, despite the bad mojo, I feel good about the Irish in this one. But it could certainly get a little too close for comfort in New York this weekend.
FINAL: Notre Dame 27, Syracuse 20
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