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Second half thread: Notre Dame 20, Syracuse 0


NCAA Football: Syracuse at Notre Dame Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Going into Saturday’s game against the No. 3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish, the No. 12 Syracuse Orange knew they had to take care of the football, get off to a fast start and try to hit Ian Book.

They didn’t do any of those things, unfortunately, and trail 20-0 at halftime behind an offensive effort that has yet to really get going. That was true before Eric Dungey departed with what looked like a back injury in the first quarter. It remained so after Tommy DeVito stepped under center instead.

Notre Dame has 305 total yards and could easily be up 35-0 right now. Syracuse, on the other hand, has just 130 total yards (and just 35 through the air). The Orange have also turned the ball over three times — all interceptions. Dungey threw the first one early while forcing a pass into coverage, then DeVito missed his mark over the top later on. The third pick was via tipped ball, which was returned to set up the final ND touchdown of the half.

When DeVito first entered the game, it looked like the SU offense was about to come alive. They’d started running the ball better with Dungey, but DeVito was given the green light to throw deep. He connected on a 40-yard would-be-score to Nykeim Johnson... however, the sophomore receiver couldn’t come down with it.

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Notre Dame Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Dontae Strickland and Moe Neal have picked up the slack a little by making progress on the ground (89 yards between the two of them). However, Syracuse isn’t sticking with it long enough for the ground attack to get going.

On the other end, the defense hasn’t looked great but has also been put in some tough spots with all of the turnovers. Notre Dame is averaging 14.1 yards per completion, but just 2.9 yards per rush. SU’s pressure can’t get to Book (save the one sack), leading to easy throws for him. He’s 18-of-29 so far with one score and one interception — via a misfire from the goal line picked off by none other than Andre Cisco (his sixth pick of the year).

Cisco and Ryan Guthrie lead the way in tackles, with seven apiece (and Guthrie has two tackles for loss). Brandon Berry also has a TFL (via sack), and Kielan Whitner and McKinley Williams have 0.5 TFLs apiece.

Syracuse will get the ball to start the second half, and it’s obviously imperative they get on the board early. Notre Dame hasn’t run the ball much so far — 18 carries for 52 yards — so if they want to try and ride out the rest of this one with a lead, they could potentially start rushing more and find gaps in the Orange’s typically-porous run D.

Hopefully we hear some word on Dungey. No matter who’s at QB, Syracuse will have their work cut out for them in the second half here. Leave your second half thoughts below and we’ll have more after the game.