It is a matchup of top-15 teams Saturday when the number 3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (10-0) face off with the number 13 Syracuse Orange (8-2). This game will be played in a neutral site as Yankee Stadium will play host. For the Fighting Irish, they have been rolling this year, winning by an average of 19.7 points. In their last game, they won 42-13 over Florida State despite not having starting quarterback Ian Book, who was out with a rib injury. Expected to play this week, Notre Dame’s offense produces a very balanced attack. For Syracuse, their two losses were against number 2 Clemson (27 to 23) and Pittsburgh (44-77). Since those two losses, they have won 4 straight including a 54-23 win over Louisville last week. The two will square off Saturday with a kickoff scheduled for 2:30 pm ET.
The point spread comes in with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish being 10-point favorites. The over/under on total points scored is set at 65 points.
Notre Dame Looking To Remain Perfect
Notre Dame has had quite the year thus far. They rank 31 in average points scored per game (34.5) and 15thin the nation in fewest average points allowed (18.7 per game). Most important for the Irish is that Ian Book should be a go this week. On the season, Book is 152 for 204 with 1,824 yards, 15 touchdowns and just 4 interceptions. No offense to Brandon Wimbush, who started last week, but they look much more unstoppable with Book under center.
On the receiving end, Notre Dame has four players with over 30 receptions. Miles Boykin leads the group with 44 catches for 654 yards and 8 touchdowns. Aside from Boykin, Chase Claypool (37 catches, 460 yards, 3 touchdowns), Chris Finke (36 receptions, 442 yards, 1 touchdowns), and Alize Mack (30 receptions, 279 yards, 3 touchdowns) have also performed well.
One of Notre Dame’s biggest strengths might be their ground game. Dexter Williams is having a great season, including going for over 200 yards last week. On the season, he has 770 yards and 10 touchdowns on 113 carries. Other players who have had success on the ground include Tony Jones Jr. (367 yards, 3 touchdowns), Jafar Armstrong (359 yards, 6 touchdowns), and quarterback Ian Book (218 yards, 4 touchdowns).
Defensively, they are led by Te’von Coney (87 tackles), Jerry Tillery (6 sacks) and Jalen Elliott (3 interceptions)
Syracuse Trying To Make It 5 In A Row
Syracuse has also put together a nice season at 8-2, especially since they gave number 2 Clemson all they could handle in one of their losses. The offense is built around quarterback Eric Dungey, who is having a phenomenal year. He has thrown for 2,193 yards, 14 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. In addition to his work through the air, though, he has also rushed for 290 yards and 12 touchdowns. Their other big threat on the ground is Moe Neal, who has 712 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Through the air, Dungey’s leading receivers are Sean Riley (54 catches, 603 yards, 2 touchdowns), Jamal Custis (42 catches, 748 yards, 5 touchdowns), Nykeim Johnson (33 catches, 527 yards, 4 touchdowns), and Taj Harris (28 catches, 387 yards, 2 touchdowns).
Defensively, Syracuse is led by Kielan Whitner (84 tackles), Alton Robinson (9 sacks), and Andre Cisco (5 interceptions).
Fighting Irish Win And Cover
Until they prove otherwise, I just have a hard time betting against Notre Dame. They have seemed dominant all season long, and I am just not sure that Syracuse can hang with them on both sides of the ball. It wouldn’t shock me if it is a close game a half, but ultimately, I envision Notre Dame pulling away. Take the Fighting Irish, even giving up the 10 points.