Syracuse football drops second in a row in loss to Fighting Irish

SU football drops second straight game

Carlos Del Rio-Wilson replaces starting QB Garrett Shrader in second half vs. Notre Dame.
Published: October 30, 2022
SYRACUSE, NY - OCTOBER 29: Sean Tucker #34 of the Syracuse Orange is stopped by the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at JMA Wireless Dome on October 29, 2022 in Syracuse, New York. (Photo by Isaiah Vazquez/The Newshouse)
SU's Sean Tucker (34) is wrapped up by a hoard of Notre Dame defensemen on Saturday in the JWA Wireless Dome.

After the heartbreaking loss last Saturday against No. 5 Clemson, the Orange were looking for a bounce-back game at home against the unranked, but highly talented Notre Dame Fighting Irish. 

Perhaps the No. 16 Orange overlooked the Irish. Coming into the game, Notre Dame was an underdog according to the betting lines and rankings. The betters were wrong as Notre Dame would beat Syracuse by a final score of 41-24.

For Garrett Shrader, this game started how it ended for him last week, throwing a pick. Not only was the first play an interception, but it was a pick-six made by junior safety Brandon Joseph.  

The Orange bounced back the next drive. It started off with a few rushes by Shrader and running back Sean Tucker and then finished with an Oronde Gadsden II 13-yard touchdown catch, his sixth TD of the season.  

In the second quarter, the Irish started to pull away from the Orange. The Irish utilized their two-man rushing game of Audric Estime and Logan Diggs. Diggs had his first rushing touchdown of the season to give Notre Dame a 14-7 lead. 

Notre Dame v Syracuse

Syracuse's Garrett Schrader (6) throws from the SU pocket on Saturday afternoon.

Notre Dame v Syracuse

Notre Dame's Marcus Freeman looks on during his team's win in the JMA Wireless Dome on Saturday.

With less than two minutes left in the first half, the Orange were at Notre Dame’s 39-yard line on 4th and 7. Instead of going for the field goal, Syracuse head coach Dino Babers elected to go for it, which the Orange ended up not converting. 

Notre Dame then marched down the field and took a 21-7 lead going into halftime. Coach Babers said he had a strategy in making this game call, which backfired.

“We’ve never seen Andre [Szmyt] hit a 57 yarder before, so a field goal was out of it. We already knew all they were going to do was run, run, run…the ball,” Babers said. “And with them getting the ball back to start the second half we had to try to get ahead of them, so their strategy doesn’t work.”

But in the case of Szmyt kicking a 54-yard goal, Babers elected him to “because I’ve seen him make it.”

Notre Dame v Syracuse
SU's Trebor Pena (2) is tracked by a Notre Dame defender on Saturday.

The first half was not a great performance for Shrader who finished with 35 yards passing, one interception, one touchdown pass, and only two yards rushing on two attempts. 

That was the last that Shrader would play in the game.

Redshirt freshman Carlos Del Rio-Wilson took his place in the second half. While the Orange lost, Del Rio-Wilson provided a spark for the squad, helping the team score 17 points in the second half and even cutting the Irish lead to seven going into the fourth quarter.

However, while Syracuse was making their comeback bid, Del Rio-Wilson threw a costly interception early in the fourth quarter after his pass was tipped by defensive lineman Jacob Lacey and landed in the hands of linebacker Marist Liufau. 

Notre Dame then went on to score a touchdown to increase their lead. Del Rio-Wilson finished the game with 190 yards passing, one touchdown pass, and one interception.

Del Rio-Wilson said he had to remain positive despite throwing an interception.

“I just try to stay consistent mentally whether it’s a good or bad play,” Del Rio-Wilson said. “Because I know the offense is going to give off negative energy if I do, so I have to remain positive.”

Although Del Rio-Wilson provided a spark and energy for the Orange offense, Coach Babers made it clear that Shrader is still the starter and he only took him out because he could tell he wasn’t his usual self.

“That was the only reason we made a move,” Babers said. “There’s not a quarterback controversy. When Shrader is healthy, he will play.”

One main reason for the loss to Notre Dame was the inability to stop the run. The Orange gave up 246 rushing yards to Notre Dame. Leading the Irish was Estime who had 124 yards and a touchdown on just 20 carries.

Syracuse will look to come back from two consecutive losses on Saturday as they go on the road to play Pittsburgh at 3:30 p.m.

Notre Dame v Syracuse
Notre Dame's Drew Pyne (10) jumps for joy in the end zone during the Fighting Irish's 41-24 win.