It was an ugly game, that managed to find some beauty for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The first quarter felt like it was never going to end as both Notre Dame and the Syracuse Orange were running up and down the field while putting up a combined 36 points.
DeShone Kizer (23-35, 471 YDS, 3 TD, 1 INT) connected with Equanimeous St. Brown (4 REC, 182 YDS, 2 TD) for a pair of long touchdown passes while Eric Dungey led the Orange on drive after drive. Towards the middle of the second quarter, Notre Dame started to look like they were going to pull away from Syracuse, but one costly mistake after another saw the Irish give up scores that put Syracuse within one touchdown of taking the lead and the ball to start the second half.
As with most games, the game is won in the second half.
It started to look like more of the same for the Irish defense in this game, but in the second half, they started to wake up and play more aggressively. The tackling and angles were still suspect, but the results were certainly much better after giving up 27 points in the first half- they only coughed up 6 in the second.
Notre Dame got a TON of big plays today, but the two touchdowns in the third quarter (a 59 yard run by Dexter Williams for touchdown and a 54 yard reception for touchdown) helped and catapulted the Irish to victory.
While this game had plenty of “what the hell was that” in it for the Irish offense, defense and special teams- the simple fact that they were able to put together a 17 point win away from home (not a true road game) after the week they just had speaks volumes about what may be for the remainder of 2016.
This was “just” Syracuse, but seeing a team that kept working and kept working to get that victory is encouraging none-the-less.