Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Syracuse Orange (10/29 @ 12:00 PM EST)
Spread: Syracuse -2.5
Money Line: Notre Dame +113 / Syracuse -130
Overview and Betting Info
Notre Dame will visit the sixteenth-ranked Syracuse Orange on Saturday afternoon. These two programs are meeting for the fifth time in the last decade, with Notre Dame winning the previous four. Both teams come into this game hot, winning four of their last five.
The Irish are 3-4 against the spread this season but are 2-0 as road underdogs. They’ve covered just two of their last five games and have hit the over just twice.
The Orange have been incredible against the spread this season, going 6-1 overall and 3-1 at home. They’ve gone under the total in three of their last five games.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
After losing their first two games to Ohio State and Marshall, the Irish rebounded to win four of their next five games. This includes decent wins against UNC and BYU but also an ugly loss against Stanford. Saturday’s game will be a chance for them to pick up their first signature win of the year and take a step closer to bowl eligibility.
Quarterback Drew Pyne leads an offense that’s averaging 386 yards per game. Though he started well, the sophomore has developed issues with his accuracy. Though he isn’t turning the ball over much (2 INT in the last five games), he’s failed to complete more than half of his passes in the previous two weeks. His struggles have led to a quiet year from sophomore Lorenzo Styles (287 yards, 0 TDs), who many in the program expected to break out this year.
The lone bright spot on the offense is the tight end, Michael Mayer. The junior has almost eclipsed his season numbers from last year, hauling 44 catches for 526 yards and six touchdowns. He’s caught virtually twice as many balls as sophomore Lorenzo Styles (287 yards, 0 TDs), whom many expected to emerge as their top receiving threat. He’s supported by a trio of running backs, led by Audric Estime with 435 yards and six touchdowns. He’s been effective but also lost a fumble in three of his last four games. This is cause for concern against an aggressive Orange defense that’s recovered six fumbles.
On defense, Notre Dame is led by defensive linemen Isaiah Foskey. The junior had eleven sacks last season and has followed it up with six this year. While the defense has talent, they don’t generate many turnovers. The Irish have just one interception and two fumble recoveries, allowing 340.9 yards per game. They’ve played well enough to keep Notre Dame in games, allowing more than 21 points once in their last five games.
The sixteenth-ranked Syracuse Orange are off to their best start in recent memory, going 6-1 after losing a heartbreaker to a great Clemson team. They’ll be in their home dome with what’s expected to be a packed house.
Dual-threat quarterback Garrett Shrader leads the Orange offense with a combined 19 touchdowns and is completing almost 70% of his passes on the year (including going 17-17 against Wagner). The junior is coming off a good game against Clemson and is pulling the ball down to run fifteen or more times a game.
Two skilled playmakers join Shrader in running back Sean Tucker (809 combined yards, 8 TDs) and receiver Oronde Gadsden II (593 yards, 5 TDs). Tucker is particularly dangerous on the ground and through the air, with 129 rushes and 28 receptions. These two combine with Shrader to form an offense that’s impressed all season.
The Orange defense seems to improve every week. After starting as one of the worst passing defenses in the country, they’ve grown as a unit culminating in a great showing against Clemson last week (150 pass yards allowed, 2 INTs). They’ve had five different defensive backs register an interception, led by Garret Williams. The sophomore has burst onto the scene this year with 2 INTs, a sack, and three pass deflections. He will be a player to watch against a quarterback struggling with accuracy.