#2 Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs Syracuse Orange Game Preview

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Syracuse has hit the skids. After going 10-3 in 2018 and finishing the season with a No. 15 ranking, the Orange have gone 6-16. It’s been an injury-plagued season for the Orange. Syracuse is down to its fourth-string running back and third-string quarterback. 

On offense, their top two running backs, Abdul Adams and Jarveon Howard opted out due to Covid-19. On defense, veteran linebacker Tyrell Richards and defensive lineman Cooper Dawson opted out. 

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Game Information

Location: Notre Dame Stadium | South Bend, IN

Date: Saturday, December 5, 2020

Time: 2:30 EST,  TV: NBC

Historical Information Notre Dame leads series 6-3, Last Meeting (2018) ND 36, Syr 3

It’s been a rough year in central New York, but this Syracuse football team is tough. They have heart, and while you can’t measure heart, you can measure offensive efficiency. 

For more evidence of how strange and challenging this year has been for the Orange, take a look at the team’s points per game. At 17.5, Syracuse ranks 118th in the country.

As the head coach, Dino Babers has never had a team score less than 25 points per game. Another telling stat of how tough this year has been for Syracuse is its performance on third down. 

Since arriving in 2016, teams under Babers have averaged a third-down conversion rate of 39.3%. This year? 25.2%. In the words of Mad Men’s Pete Campbell, “not great, Bob!” 

Syracuse will play the Irish tough. It’s likely to be close going into halftime. But in the second half, the lack of talent and depth will take its toll on the Orange. 

Syracuse played Clemson close, trailing 21-27 in the third quarter before losing 47-21. They had a 22-14 lead against NC State at halftime before ultimately losing 36-29. 

The team is 1-9 for a reason, but don’t fall for the -33.5 spread. The game will be closer than that. For the aspiring gamblers, a spread of approximately 21 implies a 100% win probability.

Anything greater than 21 would suggest a greater than 100% win probability – that’s not possible. 

The worst loss for Syracuse this year was a 30-0 defeat at the hands of Louisville. 

Notre Dame has officially booked their place in the ACC Championship game following the cancellation of their rescheduled game against Wake Forest. This game will be the final regular-season game for the Irish. Expect ND to head into the conference championship firing on all cylinders. 

The rematch between Clemson and Notre Dame seems inevitable. Barring a loss to Virginia Tech, the Tigers will play the Irish on December 19 in Charlotte.

There’s a chance the Irish are looking ahead to that game, but even so, they should handle the Orange easily. 

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Again, look for the Irish to pull away in the second half. Don’t be surprised if Brendon Clark plays most of the fourth quarter. 

Final Score: Notre Dame 42 Syracuse 17 

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