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FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 41, Syracuse 24

The Orange could not recover from a bad start, losing their second straight

Notre Dame v Syracuse Photo by Isaiah Vazquez/Getty Images

The Syracuse Orange looked for a rebound after last week’s loss, but despite a valiant second-half comeback attempt, they could not best the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, falling The Blue and Gold dominated time of possession the entire game, gradually wearing out the Mob defense and

The game started with an absolute disaster. There aren’t many ways to better suck the life out of a hometown crowd than a pick-six on the very first play, and that’s exactly what Notre Dame did. Garrett Shrader looked over the middle for a slant route but was read like a book by Safety Brandon Joseph.

The Orange were quick to rebound, driving 53 yards down the field to tie things up. The week after he was relegated to just five carries, Sean Tucker showed up early and got SU their first 1st down of the afternoon on a 21-yard dash to the outside. After that Shrader went back to the air and was more successful, hitting Trebor Pena twice in a row before finding his favorite target Oronde Gadsden in the endzone. It was Gadsden’s sixth TD catch of the season:

It seemed like the Fighting Irish were ready to respond in kind. In their first offensive series, Notre Dame relied heavily on the ground game. Combined with a few short passes, they were able to get into field goal range. However, Kicker Blake Grupe shanked it wide right, keeping the game knotted at 7.

From there, the Orange offense couldn’t get anything else going before the half. Shrader looked all out of sorts, only rushing the ball twice. Without his legs in the gameplan, the Irish defense zeroed in on Tucker and forced Shrader to try and make throws into tight windows. For the most part, he was unsuccessful.

On the other side, Notre Dame continued to play slow, methodical football, using RBs Audric Estime and Logan Diggs to ground-and-pound their way to a score and the lead.

A Ja’Had Carter interception gave the Orange great field position, but after another 3-and-out, the Irish went to the air. Michael Mayers showed why he perhaps the best TE in college football this year, making a spinning 37-yard catch to get the Irish in the red zone. After he caught another pass, Jayden Thomas found himself open in the top right corner of the endzone for a TD reception.

Carlos Del Rio-Wilson took over at QB for Syracuse after halftime. He fared a little better than Shrader did in the first 30 minutes. After the two sides traded field goals, CDRW showed off his arm, connecting with Damien Alford for 23 yards and D’Marcus Adams for 30 more. Then Tucker went outside again for his seventh rushing TD of the season:

It seemed like momentum was shifting towards Syracuse, but after CDRW took off for a pair of runs, his next pass attempt was tipped and picked off by Marist Liufau. After driving down the field and scoring again, the Irish defense stood tall and had the Orange preparing to punt. That attempt ended up being blocked and recovered at the 2. Then Audric Estime rushed it in for one of his two TDs on the afternoon.

One positive was Del Rio-Wilson’s first career TD pass, a 13-yard throw to D’Marcus Adams.

Syracuse has some soul searching to do before they travel to Pitt next weekend. Still, not many people thought they’d win either the Clemson or Notre Dame games. The Orange are still bowl-eligible and have opportunities to win some more down the stretch - the big question now is whether it will be with Shrader or CDRW behind center.