Notre Dame’s playoff hopes. The Fighting Irish could withstand a loss and still get into the playoff, but they would relinquish full control of their future. Syracuse has two games left against good opponents in the Irish and No. 22 Boston College. Win them both and the Orange are looking at their first 10-win season since 2001 and a New Year’s Six bowl.
Syracuse DEs Alton Robinson and Kendall Coleman vs. Notre Dame OTs Liam Eichenberg and Robert Hainsey. The best part of Syracuse’s defense is its pass rush led by Robinson (nine sacks) and Coleman (seven). Syracuse is ninth in the country with 33 sacks. Irish QB Ian Book missed the last game with an upper body injury after dealing with the effects of a hard hit to the ribs against Northwestern two weeks ago. Eichenberg and Hainsey need to keep him safe.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Syracuse: QB Eric Dungey. The senior has big-time talent, both throwing and running the ball. He is one of five quarterbacks this season with more than 2,000 yards passing and 500 rushing (2,193/690), a group that includes Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray.
Notre Dame: RB Dexter Williams. The senior missed the first four games of the season because of unspecified disciplinary reasons. He has been one of the most explosive backs in the country since returning with six runs of 30 or more yards in six games.
FACTS AND FIGURES
This is a Shamrock Series game for the Irish, when Notre Dame plays home away from home. They have played Shamrock Series games in Chicago, Boston, Indianapolis and San Antonio. New York, though, has a long history of hosting the Irish, especially Yankee Stadium. Notre Dame is 16-6-3 all-time at Yankee Stadium (15-5-3 against Army), including a 1-0 in the new stadium. The Irish lost to Syracuse at Yankee Stadium in 1963 in a game less than a week after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. … The Orange have 32 rushing touchdowns, two short of a school record set in 1998. Dungey has run for 12 scores. … Syracuse has set a program record with five 50-point games this season.
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