|This guy's ready to fight!|
Syracuse is in the midst of a crazy long contract to play a number of games at MetLife Stadium. This year it's against #8 Notre Dame. The Irish are off to a strong 3-0 start, and have a lot of weapons in their arsenal.
Irish QB Everett Golson is completing nearly 65% of his pass attempts this season, with 780 yards and seven touchdowns. Of particular note is his success in pass attempts of 15+ yards -- 54.5% completion rate, four touchdowns, and no interceptions. Against a traditionally poor Syracuse pass defense, Golson should look to exploit the secondary and air it deep more often than usual. At least, that's what my game plan would be. The one snag to that plan may be that Irish #2 receiver Amir Carlisle is "out with a knee" (because when people say that phrase now, the omitted "injury" at the end is, I guess, understood). But I'm sure ND will make the best of it. Notre Dame is a high octane offensive team, averaging 36.3 points per game through the first three, while its stingy defense is only giving up 10.3 per game.
For Syracuse to have any shot in this one, several things have to happen. First, Syracuse needs to keep up with the Irish -- a deficit like last week's 31-13 halftime shortfall will spell disaster. If the offense can move the ball into the red zone as effectively as last week, but actually get points in the end zone to show for it, then Syracuse has a shot. The Orange will be without dynamic player Ashton Broyld, so other receivers and tight ends will need to step up in the passing game. I'm not too worried about the stable of horses at running back -- they'll do their job, and Prince-Tyson Gulley could go over 100 yards again. On the other side of the ball, Syracuse loves to blitz, so as long as they don't give up too much on coverage, putting pressure on Golson could make the Irish change its game plan. Finally, Syracuse needs consistency in place-kicking. Three games in and we've seen too many missed field goals. Scott Shafer says it's been a battle between Ryan Norton and Cole Murphy all week, and while he's picked a starter, he won't be announcing that to somehow "gain a tactical advantage." I'm not really sure how that works, it's not like it's a hot stock tip or a sneak preview at the lottery numbers, but if Shafer says it, it is.
In my preseason preview I picked Syracuse to win. But I was a naive idiot back then. The Irish will be all over the Orange, 37-17.
This game will be played at the Orange home away from home, MetLife Stadium in