Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 19, 2018

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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36 NOV. 19, 2018 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED The Irish ranked fourth in the country in pass yards allowed per completion (9.75), sixth in yards al- lowed per attempt (5.5) and ninth in pass effi- ciency defense (103.32 rating). Notre Dame also allowed only six touchdown passes in its first nine games, which ranked third in the country. Advantage: Notre Dame NOTRE DAME RUNNING GAME VS. SYRACUSE RUN DEFENSE This is a matchup of two units that have been inconsistent all season long. At times, the Syracuse defense has been quite good against the run, holding Florida State, North Carolina State and Wagner all below their respective rushing averages. Yet it also gave up 293 yards to Clemson in a loss, 265 yards to Pittsburgh in another defeat and 242 yards to Western Michigan in a win. Through Nov. 3, the Orange ranked 71st in the country in rushing defense (165.2 yards allowed per game) and 74th in yards allowed per rush (4.3). Senior linebacker Kielan Whitner ranked fourth in the ACC with 76 tackles, while junior defensive end Alton Robinson was fourth in tackles for loss with 13. Notre Dame has been just as erratic with its ground attack. The Irish rushed for a total of 249 yards in their first two games, but averaged 252.7 yards per outing over the next three contests. The up-and-down Irish were held to just 80 yards against Pitt Oct. 13, racked up 254 yards in their next contest against Navy Oct. 27 and then com- piled just 121 yards at Northwestern Nov. 3. Getting senior running back Dexter Williams back in the fourth game has given the rushing attack some juice. He rushed for 568 yards and averaged 6.1 yards per carry while scoring eight touchdowns in his first five games back. Advantage: Even NOTRE DAME PASSING GAME VS. SYRACUSE PASS DEFENSE Evaluating the Irish aerial attack in this matchup is based on who lines up at quarterback. Junior Ian Book was excellent in his first six starts the season, leading the Irish to six wins while throwing for 301.8 yards per game. He also led the nation in completion percentage (74.5). However, an injury to his midsection kept him out of the Florida State game Nov. 10 and his status for the Syracuse game was uncertain. If Book cannot go, senior Brandon Wimbush — the 2017 starter that led the Irish to a 10-3 record — will take the reins of the Irish offense. Wimbush is more of a runner and doesn't bring Book's pass- ing accuracy to the offense. Should Book play against the Orange, the offense has a significant matchup advantage. Through 10 weeks, Syracuse ranked 112th nationally in passing yards allowed per game (267.0), 79th in yards al- lowed per attempt (7.5) and 51st in pass efficiency defense (127.29). Syracuse has just one secondary starter that stands at least 6-0 — junior strong safety Evan Foster, who ranked third on the team with 63 stops (five for loss) — which could present matchup concerns against a Notre Dame offense that will trot out 6-4 Miles Boykin, 6-4½ Chase Claypool, 6-5 Alizé Mack and 6-5½ Cole Kmet. Advantage: Notre Dame SPECIAL TEAMS The Orange special teams has been one of the nation's elite units. Through 10 weeks, SU led the nation in special teams efficiency according to the S&P+ and was fourth according to the ESPN Foot- ball Power Index. Redshirt freshman placekicker Andre Szmyt paced the country with 23 made field goals through nine games, and his 92.0-percent success rate ranked sixth. What makes that even more impressive is that Szmyt went 7 of 9 on kicks of at least 40 yards. Syracuse also excelled in the punt return game, ranking 17th nationally with an average of 14.4 yards per runback. That included a pair of touch- down returns, one by junior Sean Riley and another by freshman Trill Williams after a blocked kick. Notre Dame ranked 64th in special teams ef- ficiency according to S&P+ and was 79th according to the FPI. Fifth-year senior punter Tyler Newsome ranked 11th in the land with an average of 45.2 yards per punt, and senior punt returner Chris Finke was 34th with an average of 9.2 yards per runback. Advantage: Syracuse COACHING Babers had been a head coach for just four sea- sons prior to being hired by Syracuse in 2016. He went 19-7 in two years at Eastern Illinois and 18-9 in two years at Bowling Green. He entered those jobs with two different objectives. At Eastern Illinois, he had a turnaround project after taking over a program that had gone just 4-18 in the two years prior to his arrival. During his second sea- son, he led the Panthers to a 12-2 record and a trip to the Football Championship Subdivision quarterfinals. At Bowling Green, it was about keeping things rolling — but the objective at Syracuse was more like what he inherited at EIU. Babers had to turn around an Orange program that went 7-17 in the two years prior to his arrival. GAME PREVIEW: SYRACUSE Offense Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. WR 81 Miles Boykin 6-4 228 Sr. 4 Kevin Austin 6-2 210 Fr. WR 10 Chris Finke 5-9½ 180 Sr. 18 Joe Wilkins 6-1½ 185 Fr. LT 74 Liam Eichenberg 6-6 308 Jr. 55 Jarrett Patterson 6-4½ 290 Fr. LG 69 Aaron Banks 6-6 319 So. 76 Dillan Gibbons 6-4 313 So. C 53 Sam Mustipher 6-2½ 306 5th-Sr. 61 Colin Grunhard 6-0½ 280 So. RG 57 Trevor Ruhland 6-3½ 295 Sr. or 78 Tommy Kraemer 6-6 316 Jr. RT 72 Robert Hainsey 6-4½ 295 So. 75 Joshua Lugg 6-7 314 So. TE 86 Alizé Mack 6-5 247 Sr. 84 Cole Kmet 6-5½ 258 So. or 82 Nic Weishar 6-5 246 5th-Sr. WR 83 Chase Claypool 6-4½ 227 Jr. 87 Michael Young 5-10 192 So. QB 12 Ian Book 6-0 203 Jr. or 7 Brandon Wimbush 6-2 222 Sr. RB 2 Dexter Williams 5-11 215 Sr. 6 Tony Jones Jr. 5-11 220 Jr. 8 Jafar Armstrong 6-1 218 So. 3 Avery Davis 5-11 204 So. Defense Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. DE 42 Julian Okwara 6-4½ 241 Jr. or 9 Daelin Hayes 6-4 265 Jr. DT 99 Jerry Tillery 6-7 305 Sr. 57 Jayson Ademilola 6-3 284 Fr. NT 55 Jonathan Bonner 6-4 295 5th-Sr. 41 Kurt Hinish 6-2 295 So. DE 53 Khalid Kareem 6-4 265 Jr. 91 Ade Ogundeji 6-4½ 255 Jr. Buck 23 Drue Tranquill 6-2 235 5th-Sr. 2 J. Genmark Heath 6-1 225 So. Mike 4 Te'von Coney 6-1 240 Sr. 52 Bo Bauer 6-3 225 Fr. or 45 Jonathan Jones 5-11½ 227 Jr. ROV 22 Asmar Bilal 6-2 225 Sr. 33 Shayne Simon 6-3 222 Fr. CB 27 Julian Love 5-11 193 Jr. 8 Donte Vaughn 6-3 211 Jr. S 11 Alohi Gilman 5-10½ 202 Jr. 14 Devin Studstill 6-0 200 Jr. S 21 Jalen Elliott 6-0½ 205 Jr. 24 Nick Coleman 6-0 194 Sr. or 3 Houston Griffith 6-0 205 Fr. CB 5 Troy Pride Jr. 5-11½ 190 Jr. 35 TaRiq Bracy 5-10 170 Fr. NOTRE DAME DEPTH CHART Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. K 19 Justin Yoon 5-10 198 Sr. 39 Jonathan Doerer 6-3 200 So. P 85 Tyler Newsome 6-2½ 214 5th-Sr. 42 Jeff Riney 5-11 181 Sr. KO 39 Jonathan Doerer 6-3 200 So. or 19 Justin Yoon 5-10 198 Sr. H 17 Nolan Henry 6-0 202 Sr. 12 Ian Book 6-0 203 Jr. Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. LS 54 John Shannon 6-2 235 Jr. 65 Michael Vinson 6-2 228 Fr. KR 87 Michael Young 5-10 185 So. 3 Avery Davis 5-11 204 So. PR 10 Chris Finke 5-9½ 180 Sr. 11 Alohi Gilman 5-10½ 202 Jr. Special Teams

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