Notre Dame football has had an up-and-down season, and the Fighting Irish will look to keep going on an upswing when they visit a Top 25 opponent in the Syracuse Orange on Saturday.
The Irish looked much better in their most recent game. Notre Dame started out on fire against UNLV, scoring 23 points in the first quarter en route to the 44-21 victory. All-American tight end Michael Mayer had a big game, grabbing six catches for 115 yards and one touchdown.
Syracuse is looking to bounce back from a heartbreaking loss at Clemson last Saturday. The Orange played a very good game and had a chance late in the game to win as nearly two-touchdown underdogs. Oronde Gadsen II had six catches for 86 yards in the loss. The Syracuse defense has proven all year that it is as good as there is in college football, as it is tied with Iowa State for the sixth-fewest points allowed nationally (15.14 average).
Caesars Sportsbook has listed the Orange as a 2.5-point favorite with an over/under of 48.
Let’s take a closer look at the odds and trends:
Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Syracuse Orange
Time/TV: Noon ET Saturday, ABC
Point spread (from Caesars Sportsbook): Syracuse -2.5
Money line: Notre Dame +118, Syracuse -140
Analysis: When the offense comes to play, the Fighting Irish have a chance to win a lot of games. However, too many times this year the offense has let the defense down. In Notre Dame’s three losses, the team has scored 10, 21 and 14. The Syracuse defense will get a lot of the talk in this game, but the Notre Dame defense has also done a terrific job of shutting down opponents (35th nationally at 21.86 points allowed).
Syracuse was very good in the loss to Clemson, but there was one glaring question. Why did All-American candidate running back Sean Tucker carry the ball only five times? This is a glaring trend as his lowest rushing attempts, as he averaged 22 attempts in his first five games, with 18 carries being the lowest number. However, the last two weeks, he has gotten only 19 carries total (14 vs. NC State, five vs. Clemson).
For Syracuse, this is a chance to stay in the ACC championship race while Notre Dame looks to salvage its season. Both defenses can shut the opposing offense down. The Orange must get back to using Tucker as the running back he is, and if it does, that will be enough to give the Orange a low-scoring, close win.
Prediction: Syracuse 24, Notre Dame 20