Syracuse football crushed by No. 3 Notre Dame at Yankee Stadium

SU football crushed by Notre Dame

Kicker Andre Szmyt put the only three points on the board for the Orange.
Published: November 17, 2018
Dontae Strickland brought down by defenders.
Orange running back Dontae Strickland is brought down by a group of Notre Dame defenders.

In 130 years of the Orange’s football history, Syracuse has scored only three points in 17 games. Tonight, was one of those games.

Syracuse scored only one field goal against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Yankee Stadium in the Shamrock Series.

In front of a sellout crowd of 48,104 people, the No. 12 Orange (8-3) went scoreless until the last 10 seconds of the matchup against No. 3 Notre Dame (11-0).

The only time the Orange lost in a shutout game under Head Coach Dino Babers was against Clemson in 2016. Exactly seventeen years ago today, the Orange went scoreless against Miami.

Dungey Sidelined With Unknown Injury

The trouble for Syracuse started early in the first quarter with the injury of senior starting quarterback Eric Dungey.

Dungey left the game in the first quarter with an upper-back injury. He ran for four yards and had a number of players pile on top of him.

On the next play, Dungey collapsed before the snap. Trainers helped Dungey off the field before he walked to the locker room, shaking his head.

At the time, his injuries are unknown. Dungey was not available for media after the game. According to game announcers, it looked as though the trainers were holding Dungey’s pads away from his back.

Babers doesn’t know what type of injury Dungey is facing.

“We don’t know right now,” Babers said at a post-game press conference. “We’re still waiting on the trainers. We have to get him back to our place and check him out.”

Struggling Offense

After Dungey left the field, redshirt freshman Tommy DeVito took over at quarterback but could not find the momentum to take over the game.

DeVito and the offense struggled throughout the game with dropped balls and failed completions. DeVito only completed 14 of his 31 passes and gave up two interceptions.

As a team, the Orange only completed 16 first downs compared to the Fighting Irish’s 23. Syracuse only rushed 119 yards, compared to their season average of 207.3 rushing yards per game.

Junior running back Moe Neal tried to inject life into the offense, leading the Orange with 74 yards on 18 carries, but that wasn’t enough to defeat the Fighting Irish.

Freshman wide receiver Taj Harris led Syracuse with 5 receptions for 78 yards, but a caught ball bounced out of his hands and into the hands of a Notre Dame defender for an interception.

Babers recognized the missed opportunities and inexperience of the lower classmen on the field.

“For the most part our veterans played extremely well, on three sides of the ball offense, defense, special teams,” Babers said. “You start going back to our young people and it’s not good. They did not handle the surroundings well. I was disappointed.”

Taj Harris running
Syracuse wide receiver Taj Harris runs past Fighting Irish defenders at Yankee Stadium. The Orange fell to Notre Dame, 36-3.

Notre Dame’s Dominate Defense

Notre Dame’s defense was dominate, and nobody expected anything less. From the kickoff the Orange struggled to make it to the red zone.

The Notre Dame defense forced Syracuse into a punt after their first possession of the game, and the Fighting Irish converted the punt into a touchdown with 9:11 remaining in the first quarter. The Fighting Irish never looked back.

The Orange’s first time in the red zone was in the fourth quarter, and the Orange still couldn’t get it done. Kicker Andre Szmyt, who was previously 27-29 in field goal completions, botched a 23-yard field goal with 8:20 left in the game.

However, with 10 seconds left in the game Szmyt broke the ACC single season record for the most field goals by a kicker. With his successful kicker, he put the Orange’s only points on the board.

Bowl Projections

After the blow out win over Louisville last week, Syracuse’s bowl projections improved and even placed them in the New Year’s Six mix. But, with the loss at Yankee Stadium, the Orange lose their momentum for a bid in the New Year’s Six conversation.

Although the loss will most likely take them out of the bowl games, the Orange might still have a shot at the Camping World Bowl in Orlando.

The Orange will now focus on their next opponent No. 20 Boston College next Saturday in Massachusetts.

“We need to get back and regroup and play the type of football that we’ve been playing all season,” Babers said. “This is a speed bump, and you just don’t want it to happen again.”