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The Syracuse Hangover: What’s Wrong With DeShone Kizer?

DeShone Kizer is a great quarterback, but something is missing.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame vs Syracuse Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame football got itself a win on Saturday, and in doing so, they were able to breathe a little deeper. Among the many problems that have hurt the team this year as they have started out with a 2-3 record, DeShone Kizer isn’t anywhere near the middle or top of the list.

So how can there be a problem? After all, Kizer is one of the nation’s leaders across the board statistically, and just threw for 471 yards and 3 touchdowns this past week. He also ran for a touchdown against the Syracuse Orange and sits at #3 in the country for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback.


The problem is one that isn’t easily described other than... he lacks that killer instinct. Don’t get confused here. DeShone Kizer has already proved himself to be a good quarterback under pressure. In fact, DeShone Kizer was born of pressure- if I need to remind you.

Notre Dame v Virginia
DeShone Kizer conquered a nation of Hoos.
Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

What I mean by Kizer lacking that killer instinct is how he plays when the Irish go up. It’s like he loses a bit of concentration, and in doing so, he’s timid and off target. If you want to get technical about it, his mechanics and throwing motion change too.

None of this has directly caused an Irish loss that I am aware of, but it has caused some moments of “here we go again” (justly or unjustly). This past week against Syracuse, we could see it in full motion. 471 yards could have been 600 yards and 3 touchdowns could have been 5 or 6. In not doing so, the game felt and looked closer than what we expect ( or better yet, feel like we deserve).

And that’s what we are talking about here. Our feelings. What’s wrong with DeShone Kizer? Probably nothing. Yes, at times he lacks the concentration to go up 3 touchdowns and at some point we are going to need to discuss that- but not right now. What Kizer needs is a defense that can back him up. What Kizer needs is an offensive line to block as well for his running backs as they pass protect for him.

It’s one thing for a coach to nudge an elite player along if he thinks it’s needed, but it is a much different thing for fans to suggest that there is a problem- just as many commented and tweeted out this past Saturday.

Of all the problems with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish this season, one of them certainly isn’t DeShone Kizer, and there is nothing wrong with that.