Notre Dame defeats Syracuse in “pinball”, 50-33
East Rutherford, NJ – The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame and the Syracuse Orange scored 60 points in the first half combined with scoring resembling play on a pinball machine rather than on a gridiron as the Irish (2-3) defeated the Orange by a final score of 50-33. Tacklers bounced off ball carriers and plays went for long yards as the scoreboard lit up early and often. Not until the second half of play did the defenses settle down to resemble more of a football game than a pinball contest as defenders finally started to wrap and make tackles. Fighting Irish QB DeShone Kizer passed for 471 yards, three TDs, one INT while completing 23 of 35. For Collegefootballfan.com, the game at MetLife Stadium was dubbed our Big Tailgate for this season as our busload of 55 tailgaters plus enjoyed food, drink, and revelry in the parking lot before and after our game sponsored by the Boonton (NJ) Knights of Columbus. We raised over $800 in this fundraiser raised for Special Olympics and other charities!
Kizer struck easily on the first play from scrimmage connecting with WR Equanimeous St. Brown (four catches for 182 yards and two TDS) for a 79 yard score. Syracuse soph QB Eric Dungey (31 of 51 passing for 363 yards, two TDs passing, and three TDs rushing) equaled the task taking in in from the three capping 75-ard TD drive. However, the extra point was blocked and Luke Cole returned it for Notre Dame to take a 9-6 lead. Kizer and St. Brown hooked up again for a 67-yard scoring pass. The Orange retaliated three plays later as Dungey connected with Amba Etta-Tawo, the nation’s leader in receiving yards, for a 72-yard scoring play to pull back within range, 16-13. As our crowd overlooking the turf sat in bewilderment laughing at the score piling up against two feeble defenses and predicting that the scoring was on a record-setting pace, Notre Dame’s C.J. Sanders fielded the ensuing kickoff and returned it 93 yards for a TD. It was getting ridiculous. This has to be a result of the new watered down tackling rule limitations during practices. It’s only going to get worse. Tackling skills and toughness are being replaced by needed safety and speed. Someday the only football that will be played will be via virtual reality. With 10:06 left in the first, someone pulled the plug on the pinball machine, the predecessor of computer games.
SU completed a 79-yard drive with a one-yard run by Dungey. The Irish racked up 71 yards before Kizer took it over from the three. A 31-yard field goal by Justin Yoon and 14-yard pass to Ervin Phillips by Dungey set up by Brisly Estime’s 74-yard punt return closed out the first half scoring to keep it close at 33-27 in favor of the Irish. SU’s band performed at halftime while I went down four escalators to find the game program to add to my collection. The announced attendance was 62, 794 – no way! There were more empty seats than full ones. Either the Irish fans stayed away because of overcast weather which would be a shame as precipitation held off the entire afternoon, or they stayed away because the Irish are only 2-3 for no hopes of a title shot. Either way, the spirit of the Irish seems to be waning. Maybe attendance is down due to people staying at home more often to watch games on TV. That certainly stinks too since the televised games cause those of us attending to sit through too many TV time-outs.
In the third period, the Irish defense held the Orange in check. On the other hand, the Irish scored two long TDs against HC Dino Babers’ defense that starts one freshman, six sophs and no seniors. Kizer threw a 54-yard TD pass to Kevin Stepherson, and Dexter Williams scored on a 59-yard run.
A Yoon FG of 39 yards and a Dungey five a-yard TD scamper finalized the score at 50-33 in favor of the Irish. Next week, the Fighting Irish travel to Raleigh, NC to play the NC State Wolf Pack. The week after, CollegeFootballfan.com travels to South Bend to see the Irish play Stanford who lost big to Washington, 44-6, Friday night. Syracuse travels to Wake Forest who fell to NC State on Saturday, 33-16. CFF.com heads back to Annapolis this Saturday to watch 3-1 Navy who fell to Air Force, 28-14, to see them face No. 6 Houston with QB Greg Ward, Jr., a legitimate Heisman trophy candidate in the running with Louisville’s Lamar Jackson who he will face later this season.