Yankee Stadium is the venue for what looks to be a solid game between the Syracuse Orange and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Syracuse sits at 8-2 on the year and is currently ranked #12 in the nation. The program is headed towards a bowl game, but you can be sure the team would love to stick a major feather in its cap in the form of Notre Dame as it pushes for 10 wins.
For Notre Dame, the stakes are relatively cut and dry. The team currently sits at #3 in the College Football Playoff poll. Win and they’ll hold down one of the coveted spots, while a loss will lead to them being courted by other top bowls.
This one has the potential to be an outstanding contest between two teams with plenty to play for. Let’s take a look at the matchup in full detail, starting with how the oddsmakers see it.
Syracuse @ Notre Dame, 2:30 PM EST, NBC
- Syracuse +10.5 (-115)
- Notre Dame -10.5 (-105)
- Syracuse +325
- Notre Dame -385
- Over 5 (-110)
- Under 5 (-110)
Syracuse vs. Notre Dame Pick
Syracuse opened up the season with a mark of 4-0 before hitting a rough patch and dropping two straight. The first of those losses came to Clemson, but the Orange were able to take a little solace in the fact that they played them incredibly tough. They would go on to lose to Pitt the following week, but they have ripped off four in a row since that point, including last week’s big 54-23 victory over Louisville.
The Fighting Irish have yet to lose, but the club has been tested a number of times in 2018. Four of the squad’s victories have been by eight points or less, but they have been cruising in recent weeks with three consecutive double digit wins. Last week, it was a convincing 42-13 victory over Florida State underneath the primetime lights.
Offensively, Syracuse is averaging 44.4 points per game with solid balance between the pass and the run. The defense has faced its share of challenges in both facets while allowing 27.6 points per game. The unit actually generates a good deal of pressure, as Syracuse’s 33 sacks is good enough for 9th in the nation. The defense has also forced 25 turnovers on the year.
Senior QB Eric Dungey has handled the bulk of the snaps, and he has completed 60.4 percent of his passes for 2,193 yards, 14 scores, and five picks. Dungey has also been productive on the ground with 690 rushing yards and 12 additional TDs. Junior Moe Neal has been the main threat out of the backfield – 119/716/5 – while senior Jamal Custis is the top option in the passing game. Through 10 games, Custis has 42 receptions for 748 yards and five scores.
Looking ahead, Syracuse closes out the regular season on the road at ACC Atlantic division rival Boston College, which is currently the #20 team in the nation. In short, the Orange really have their work cut out for them to reach 10 wins. That said, a split over the final two against two top programs would have to be considered a solid accomplishment.
On the Notre Dame side of the ledger, the team is averaging 34.5 per contest while surrendering 18.7. The offense is pretty balanced on an overall basis, while the defense is a little stronger against the pass over the run. The defense is middle of the road in getting to the quarterback with 23 sacks on the year, and the unit has forced just 15 turnovers on the year.
Junior Ian Book has been leading the way for the Irish on offense for the most part, but he was banged up last week and gave way to senior Brandon Wimbush, who started the first two games this season for Notre Dame. Book has completed 74.5 percent of his passes for 1,824 yards, 15 scores, and four picks. He has also added on 218 yards on the ground and four rushing scores on the season.
Senior Dexter Williams has been the man in the backfield for Notre Dame. Through 10 games, he has toted the rock 113 times for 770 yards and 10 touchdowns. Senior Miles Boykin leads the way for the pass catchers. Boykin has three 100-yard receiving games on his 2018 resume, and he has produced a total stat line of 44/654/8.
Next week, Notre Dame closes out the regular season with a primetime game on the road at USC. While this year’s USC squad currently sits at just 5-5, this is still a tough road trip for a Fighting Irish team that is looking to hang onto a coveted College Football Playoff spot. Notre Dame currently holds down the #3 position in that poll, as well as in the AP and Coaches polls.
Recent history has been scant with these two schools, but they did hook up in both 2014 and 2016. Notre Dame was victorious and covered in both games, with the Over being the correct choice once. For the 2016 game, Notre Dame was an 11.5-pont favorite in a game with a projected total of 74 points. The Fighting Irish walked out with a 50-33 victory.
This year, Notre Dame is a 10.5-point favorite while the projected total sits at 65.5 points. We have to give the talent edge to the Fighting Irish, and we can do the same on the motivation front when you consider what’s at stake for the program. Only four squads make the playoffs, and Notre Dame has a clear path towards locking down one of those spots.
That being the case, we have a hard time seeing Notre Dame dropping a winnable game this close to the proverbial finish line. However, Syracuse has the talent to keep things interesting, and the school has had itself a solid year. In the end, we’ll look for Notre Dame to pull away in the final stanza.
We’ll take Notre Dame minus the points.