We have seen this scenario this year for Notre Dame, twice before actually. The Irish head on the road to face a top 25 opponent, I know BYU was a “home game” but in reality it was on the road. Marcus Freeman has seen his team split those games, so this will be a deciding factor if the Irish are really making progress.
This game won’t be easy, these two teams mirror each other, so far with Syracuse doing it a bit better than the Irish. Find out five keys for Notre Dame to get their second “road” upset victory below.
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Put up at least 400 yards of offense
Oct 22, 2022; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish running back Chris Tyree (25) celebrates with offensive lineman Blake Fisher (54) after a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the UNLV Rebels at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
With the exception of the close game against Virginia, where the Orangemen didn’t play their best, the two teams that almost defeated them, Purdue, and who did, Clemson, gained over 400 yards. The Boilers did it mainly through the air, while the Tigers did it on the ground. It doesn’t matter how the Irish do it, if they’re able to get over 400 yards of total offense, they should be in good shape against ‘Cuse.
Hold Shrader under 200 yards passing
Oct 15, 2022; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange quarterback Garrett Shrader (6) prepares to throw a pass in the third quarter against the North Carolina State Wolfpack at JMA Wireless Dome. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
Another key in their two close games was the play of quarterback Garrett Shrader. In every one of their wins except Purdue and their loss to Clemson, Shrader threw for over 200 yards. He is the straw that stirs the Syracuse offense and is the key to stopping them on Saturday. If the Irish do a good job of containing the junior, they should be in pretty good shape at the end of the game.
Don’t forget to run the ball
SOUTH BEND, INDIANA – OCTOBER 15: Audric Estime #7 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrates a touchdown against the Stanford Cardinal during the second half at Notre Dame Stadium on October 15, 2022 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
The Irish are at their best on offense when they’re pounding the ball on the ground. They rode the hot hand of Logan Diggs against UNLV, but previously it had been Audric Estime getting the majority of carries. I’d love to see Estime fresh later in the game, with a tired Syracuse defense trying to tackle the bull dozer. Anything that Chris Tyree can do is always a plus. Offensive coordinator Tommy Rees can’t get to pass heavy in his play calling, especially with how Drew Pyne has performed recently.
Win the turnover battle
Oct 8, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish wide receiver Griffin Eifert (28) celebrates with teammates after making an interception against the Brigham Young Cougars during the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports
This one could be said for every football game that has ever been played. It’s especially important when you go on the road while facing a ranked team. Some teams can overcome turnovers, but this years version of Notre Dame isn’t really built that way. The Irish need to win this battle for a chance at the upset.
Don’t fear the Dome
Oct 1, 2022; Syracuse, New York, USA; The Syracuse Orange athletes stand and sing the Syracuse Alma Mater after defeating the Wagner Seahawks at JMA Wireless Dome. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
This season the Orangemen have outscored the visitors 168-65 in the JMA Wireless Dome. Yes, you can point to a 59-0 drubbing of Wagner where they ran the second half clock, but wins over Louisville, Purdue, Virginia and NC State are all very solid wins. The Irish are have just gone on the road two other times previous to this game, three if you count the trip to Las Vegas. They’ve split those games so we really don’t know which team will show up against Syracuse. Regardless, Notre Dame needs to bring their A game to defeat the host Orangemen.