Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 6, 2014 Issue

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

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Page 43 of 108

SYRACUSE RUNNING GAME VS. NOTRE DAME RUN DEFENSE The Orange entered this game ranked 19th nation- ally in rushing with 265.0 yards per game and 5.9 yards per carry, but the Irish did an excellent job of selling out against the run while relying on man coverage (which did lead to some chunk plays on that end of the equation). Discount the 42-yard run in the second half by punter Riley Dixon on a fake and the Orange man- aged only 93 yards on 29 carries (3.2 yards per rush). No one in the backfield rushed for more than 29 yards, a week after Syracuse gashed Maryland for 370 yards on the ground. ADVANTAGE: Notre Dame SYRACUSE PASSING GAME VS. NOTRE DAME PASS DEFENSE There are two parts to this. One is that Syracuse did complete five huge passes — including 33- and 38-yard shots to start each half — that gained any- where from 25 to 46 yards for a total of 170 yards on those five plays. Part two is the 17 other completions managed only 124 yards and stalled drives. Notre Dame did not record any sacks, but blitzes by linebackers Joe Schmidt and Jaylon Smith, espe- cially up the middle, and some solid work by sopho- more defensive end Isaac Rochell (two pass pres- sures) helped the Orange start 1 of 10 on third-down conversions. Pass pressure is not always reflected in just sacks. The heat Schmidt applied on one blitz helped lead to an interception by senior nickel back Matthias Farley, who faked his own blitz. ADVANTAGE: Even NOTRE DAME RUNNING GAME VS. SYRACUSE RUN DEFENSE An argument can be made that Notre Dame's two dozen or so wide receiver bubble screens were like extended handoffs or sweeps into the open field. The Irish had only 70 rushing yards in the first half, but the longest run, a 22-yard Everett Golson jaunt off a scramble, ended in a lost fumble. Notre Dame finished with a solid 161 rushing yards and added a jumbo package with multiple tight ends and backs, although another lost fumble by Greg Bryant was a ON PAPER REVISITED BY LOU SOMOGYI Junior end Romeo Okwara and the Irish did not record any sacks against Syracuse quarterback Terrel Hunt, but put enough pressure on him to force some errant throws and limit the Orange to 3 of 15 on third-down conversions. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

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