The Irish got out of the gates with absolute quickness as Brandon Joseph picked off Garrett Shrader and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown to put the Irish up 7-0 seven seconds into the game.
Unfortunately for the Irish, the next drive wasn’t as short for Syracuse. After getting great field position on the kickoff due to a personal foul flag on the Joseph TD, the Orange drove 54 yards in 7 plays to score on a 13 yard Shrader to Oronde Gadsden touchdown. Gadsden was brutally wide open on one on one coverage by Benjamin Morrison with no safety help.
After the teams exchange a couple of punts, the Irish went to work on the ground and an 11 play 55 yard drive was capped off by a 3 yard Logan Diggs touchdown run. After a couple more exchanged punts by the teams, Drew Pyne completely overthrew Michael Mayer, and Ja’Had Carter came down with an easy interception.
As disheartening as the interception was, the Orange did nothing — well — they turned the ball over on downs after gaining just 3 yards on 4 plays. Notre Dame capitalized with a 6 play, 61 ard drive that resulted in a Drew Pyne to Jayden Thomas touchdown pass a minute before halftime.
It was a tight third quarter for the Irish. Notre Dame struggled offensively — which is a kind way to say they stunk. Notre Dame extended its lead to 24-7. Syracuse knocked in the classic cowardly field goal to make it 24-10, and then after getting a three and out, Syracuse put together a 67 yard drive that ended with a Sean Ticker touchdown run — and it’s a 24-17 game.
Syracuse forced ANOTHER 3 and out, and backup Orange quarterback Carlos Del Rio Wilson (who came in for an injured Shrader after halftime) quickly threw an interception to a flying Marist Liufau.
The Irish scored the next 17 points in about 8 minutes with a couple of Audric Estime touchdown (123 yards for the day on 20 carries) and a cowardly Blake Grupe field goal from the 2 yard line.
Notre Dame forced Syrcuse to go off the field on downs, and that’s the ball game baby. A ranked road win for Notre dame and momentum of some sorts before Clemson comes to town.
More to come on OFD.