All Irish fans were rightfully concerned when the Irish went on the road this week to take on the #16 ranked Syracuse Orangemen, but our fears turned into cheers when team captain, Brandon Joseph, scampered 29 yards into the Syracuse end zone on a pick-six INT just seconds into the game.
Syracuse struck back on the next possession with a series of offensive gains capped off with a touchdown pass from QB Garrett Shrader to Oronde Gadsden II to even the score at 7-7.
That TD for the Orangemen was their only score for the rest of the first half!
Irish running backs Audric Estime and Logan Diggs, with the help of the continuing improvement of the offensive line, had their way with the Syracuse defensive unit as they ran unimpeded straight up the middle of the field chewing up the clock with Diggs scoring his 1st rushing touchdown of the season. Drew Pyne, however, seemed to be off his game sailing a few passes over the heads of his receivers. Pyne was successful on some of his passes in the 1st half including the very first receptions of the season by Deion Colzie; a 37 yard pass to Michael Mayer which put him ahead of Tyler Eifert in tight end receiving yards; and a touchdown pass to Jayden Thomas.
The Irish standouts on defense in the 1st half included, Isaiah Foskey, JD Bertrand and Ta’Riq Bracy. The Syracuse offense was held to only 73 yards in the first half! At the half, the score was 21-7, Notre Dame.
In the 2nd half of the game, the Orangemen staged a bit of a comeback scoring 10 points to only a field goal by the Irish in the 3rd quarter. Suffering from an injured foot, Syracuse QB, Garrett Shrader was replaced by Carlos Del Rio-Wilson who engineered an outstanding offensive drive to bring the Orangemen to within a touchdown of the Irish lead. Syracuse appeared to have gained the momentum in the game, but a tipped pass fell into the arms of Marist Liafau swinging the momentum right back to the Irish. An 11 yard touchdown run by Audric Estime put the Irish up 31-17.
The Irish blocked another punt, its 5th of the season, which led to another TD run by Estime, but Irish fans know that no matter how large the lead may be, there’s always the fear that it could all vanish in an instant. What looked like a surefire game ending interception by Brandon Joseph was called back by an offsides penalty, and then Syracuse was awarded another touchdown by the referees when it was clear to all the Irish fans that the ‘Cuse receiver had clearly stepped out of bounds before he caught the ball!
Finally, we saw Steve Angeli take over the reins of the offense and the Irish finished off the scoring with a 2nd field goal by Blake Grupe giving the Irish the 41-24 victory over another top 25 ranked opponent.
Next week. The Irish return to Notre Dame Stadium to take on the undefeated #5 ranked Clemson Tigers. Can Notre Dame pull off another upset of a ranked opponent? They did it on 11/7/2020 against current QB, DJ Uiagalelei and held their star running back, Travis Etienne to only 25 yards that night. Maybe they can do it again.
As always, GO IRISH!