Notre Dame v. Syracuse ’14 Key Matchups

Ronnie Stanley - Notre Dame LT
Notre Dame Fighting Irish offensive lineman Ronnie Stanley (78) waits between plays during the game agains the Rice Owls at Notre Dame Stadium. Notre Dame won 48-17. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame will return to action after their bye week when they travel to MetLife Stadium to tangle with Syracuse.  The Irish are heavy favorites versus the Orange and will look to sort out some issues they’ve shown to start the season before beginning a very difficult stretch of the schedule.  Syracuse will no doubt be excited to play in primetime so the Irish must play their best in order to avoid a scare.  The Irish will look to shutdown Syracuse’s ground attack that does most of the work for the Orange while exploiting a distinct advantage in athleticism over the home team’s defense.  The following are the key matchups the Irish must control in order to emerge victorious this Saturday:

Jaylon Smith versus Terrel Hunt:  Irish linebacker Jaylon Smith will be essential to the defense’s performance every week and this week is no different when he will be charged with shutting down Terrel Hunt.  Hunt is a dual-threat quarterback with explosive running ability who has rushed for a team-high 273 yards and five touchdowns so far this season while passing for 488 yards and a touchdown.  Smith will likely be attempting to contain Hunt in the pocket and make him primarily a passing quarterback.  If Smith can do this the Irish will be well on their way to a win.

Joe Schmidt versus Prince-Tyson Gulley:  Another Irish linebacker whose performance will be crucial to victory is Joe Schmidt as he will need to help slow down Syracuse running back Prince-Tyson Gulley.  Schmidt has done a solid job in an inside linebacker role this season and will need to continue that against Gulley a gifted runner both between and outside the tackles.  The Ohio native is averaging 7.8 yards per carry so far this season and is difficult to bring down because of his combination of elusiveness and power to go along with his 5’8’’ 193 pound frame.

Ronnie Stanley versus Micah Robinson:  Irish left tackle Ronnie Stanley has done well protecting Everett Golson’s blindside thus far this season.  This week he will face a workmanlike pass rusher in Micah Robinson.  Robinson doesn’t have any traits that blow you away but he is solid in most areas and will be relentless in his pursuit of the quarterback so Stanley will need a good effort to keep him him away from Golson.  Robinson has four tackles for loss this season, good for second on the Orange.

Everett Golson versus Cameron Lynch:  Irish quarterback and current Heisman hopeful Everett Golson needs to play well every week for the Irish to have success and this week he will be seeing a lot of Syracuse linebacker Cameron Lynch.  Lynch is the best player on the Orange defense with team-high’s in tackles, tackles for loss, and sacks.  The Georgia native is a gifted pass-rusher with 4.5 sacks so far this season and he possesses the skills to contain Golson on the scramble.  Thus it is important Golson has a big game passing as that’s where things come easier against the Orange defense.

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  1. While turnovers were obviously a huge concern, those will get corrected. We have an offensive line that has been shuffled around and played their first game in the new format. Why are people claiming that “we still can’t run the ball” and/or “the OL still can’t block”. Against ‘Cuse, we averaged over 4 yards / carry with a 163 total rushing yards. While these are not incredible numbers, they are not anywhere near as bad as some of the commentary would have you believe.

    The fumbled spike by Golson was a freak thing. Without that, ND scores again and ‘Cuse is toast at that point.

    This is a young team that is making some young errors.

    Golson threw for almost 400 yards and was one pass shy of an FBS completion record. And we won the game. But he walked off the field PISSED at his performance and his mistakes.

    That is encouraging.

  2. We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate…”
    Martin Luther King, Jr.

    1. Kirk Lazarus: Everybody knows you never go full retard.

      Tugg Speedman: What do you mean?

      Kirk Lazarus: Check it out. Dustin Hoffman, ‘Rain Man,’ look retarded, act retarded, not retarded. Counted toothpicks, cheated cards. Autistic, sho’. Not retarded. You know Tom Hanks, ‘Forrest Gump.’ Slow, yes. Retarded, maybe. Braces on his legs. But he charmed the pants off Nixon and won a ping-pong competition. That ain’t retarded. Peter Sellers, “Being There.” Infantile, yes. Retarded, no. You went full retard, man. Never go full retard. You don’t buy that? Ask Sean Penn, 2001, “I Am Sam.” Remember? Went full retard, went home empty handed…

    1. You had better get your head and your ass wired together and start shitting me Tiffany cufflinks or I will definitely mess you up!

      Now choke yourself!


    Your words, not mine!

    Bryant had 11 carries for 55 yards against Syracuse. Clearly far less than you prescribe.

    So PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE! tell us.. EXACTLY… how many carries, and in what EXACT order, should the ball should be given to Bryant… you know, so you’re not misunderstood…again?

    Also, according to what you said after the Michigan game, your wish of ND “putting it all together” appears to have already been granted….

    “Wow, shades of parseghian And holtz. Go Irish”

    What we are hearing from you is very much like we heard during the 2012 undefeated regular season, which is less about ND success, and more about YOU having something, anything, to complain about.

    Now go back to doing what you do best… pickin’ nat shit out of pepper!

  4. shazam, i said it, they gave the ball to conjar many many times times in that drive, but he had the best offensive line in the country in front of him, kuchenberg, regner, kunz, and i just think eight in a row was a bit too much, i guess kelly was trying to teach em something, maybe this was the way to do it, i just wish they would pull it all togewther, everyone just wants to see it work, god bless everyone’s effort

  5. Some good here but a lot of bad – MUST get a running game and a PASS RUSH – if there is not improvement there put down Stanford, FSU, USC, and maybe Arizona State as losses – cannot beat the top teams the way things are now

  6. Not sure the week off served them well and offensive line still not clicking, however, I think we will a better ND team next week. Want to see Golson throw more downfield as he has in the first three games instead of east-west all the time. We got stud running backs but by god open up some holes and hold on to the frigin ball! Many top ten teams struggled to win yesterday so I will take the win. Hold on cause now the season gets interesting…….

    1. National champs win ugly too. We had a bad game and still won in Syracuse’s backyard by 2 TDs. I think maybe they needed this before Stanford. It was humbling. I expect Golson to use it as motivation for next week.
      As far as Bryant’s fumble, it happens. Golson was stripped too. Yes he is young but show some confidence in this kid. Everytime he gets a hole, I feel like this is the one he breaks for a long TD run.

  7. Things I learned: cam is only good for a yard, Bryant is great but fumbles if you give him the ball eight times in a row, who wouldn’t but Kelly can’t figure out what to do, if golson is injured there is no offense, they can’t hold onto the ball, penalties, Kelly can’t generate a balanced offense, I
    Guess it was a practice game with everyone getting their reps in a row until they score, fumble or get injured. Weird

  8. Play like tonight versus Stanford and we will lose. Winning while having 5 turnovers is not a easy thing to do but we still found a way to win and that shouldnt be over looked at all. Golson had a good night stat wise in terms of yards and touchdowns but he must play better and he knows it.

    What worries me the most is that our interior offensive line tonight struggled at times and they were still getting knocked backwards on running plays getting very little to no push. Also our pass rush only gets to the QB when we blitz. That’s the biggest hole on defense. This defense BADLY needs a pass rusher that offenses have to worry about on every play.

  9. That was just a shit game, period. Stats mislead this even with 500+ yards of offense. 5 TO’s tonight and they won, I just shake my head at that. If they can’t run with authority with good OL push, Stanford, FSU, USC, will beat ND with what ND wants to do in their passing game w/o a decent running game. They should have throttled this team and didn’t. The problem was not the defense side of the ball.

      1. Believe what you want, but a road win is at your opponnets home field, not a neutral site. If you watched the game there were more Notre Dame fans. Sorry !

  10. Schizophrenia he won’t give any back the ballote than once and then gives it to Bryant 7 times in a row, of course of fumbles.

    1. Bruce Johnson,

      See if you can guess who said this?


      bj…It’s better to shut up and give the impression that you’re stupid than to say something, and erase all doubt.

  11. Ron, Golson is 19-23 for 240 and 2 tds. Thats not terrible. What is terrible is we cant run the ball and we are screening to death against a poor Syracuse D. Whats also terrible is Golson leads the team in rushing attempts and GB has one freaking carry.

  12. Kelt can’t invent an offense. Play selection yields two fumbles and an interception Stanford can’t wait to play us my god

  13. The refs suck and our offensive line really sucks! Golson is really playing terrible. It’s a good thing we’re playing syracuse.

  14. To “Sad Warrior”:

    Please don’t confuse me with the troll “SteelFanBob.”

    Apparently, “SteelFanBob” now wants you to play his sick games.

    Just stick to football, “Sad Warrior.”

    Even as the dog returns to his own vomit, so does the fool to his folly.


      1. Thanks, bro! I’m super busy but try to keep up with what you “morons” (as per Burgundy) are talking about.

        GO IRISH!

    1. SFR-true apologies. Cannot believe that name was missed by so many. Guess we are the ‘vomit eaters’ on this one. Damn!

      Any ideas about the SU rushing attack? Controversy is a must.

      Go Irish! Oh and for Bob, HOOOOOAAAH! A-10 Ass, er, Ace. You made a mistake on the Flight Designation idiot and we ‘grunts’ here all saw that, yeah, even us, the ‘Latrine Boys.’

      1. No shit Sherlock. That’s cause I flew the A-10. Get your gig line straight and shine my shoes.

  15. Syracuse almost had 600 yards last week. Hope we are ready for their biggest
    game of the year. Doubt if they can stop our offense though.

  16. you don’t play outside of your region? Huh?????

    So you have that regional rivalry when West Virginia travels to play in Ames Iowa? Or Miami traveling in region to play Boston College in Newton?

    Or that old regional classic when the Golden Gophers travel to College Park to play the Terrapina?

    Something’s missing here and I think I know what it is.

  17. This is a little off topic, but I was thinking the problem with College Football is conferences. Think of it this way, what made ND great was “Anyone, Anywhere Anytime.” In a conference you don’t play outside your region, plus you have lousy teams built into the league. Just think Alabama coming to South Bend in November or Oregon FSU in October. All the top teams would have to build a legit schedule, plus you wouldn’t have to worry about what teams do in your conference

  18. Shaz a serious question. You made a great post about forgiveness, penance and contrition a few days ago.

    Now in struggling to be a sound Christian I always spend time with folks who are very good Christian models and who walk the talk.

    I worked in a senior organization with a guy who worked in the New York Prison System. He was non-Catholic but we shared a lot of “True Christianity” principles in common. He was well-to-do and retired, and once a year, he and his wife would go the local prison and spend three days there, away from the comforts of home and visit with and dine with the prisoners.

    Buddy RT was wounded Korean war vet who was a successful machine tool manufacture, and was worth well into seven figures. RT was also non-Catholic, but again we had shared Christian values and our families would exchange Christian letters with each other. He was a tough hombre, but when he ran his machine shop, he always had at least one ex-con working for him.

    Should Notre Dame have one ex-con football player, for Christian as much as football reasons. Now there are myriad issues here, including screening and student safety, but consistent with your piror post, could you
    just give us some feed back on this issue?

  19. You will all be relieved to know, I just heard that last Friday the committee to review the allegations regarding wrongdoing by the suspended five was assembled. Weird.

    1. Now, now, don’t be hasty.

      “You must understand, young Hobbit, it takes a long time to say anything in Old Entish.
      And the Review Committee never says anything unless it is worth taking a long time to say.“

      Review Committee Chairman

    1. Mr. Brown, Sir, do we have your word on that? Crystal ball? Voodoo? Or just plain logistics? Here it is the good bet by the many that outweighs the bad bet by the one!

      Hooah Irish!

    2. I think most teams in the top 8 would hang 50 plus on Syracuse but i doubt ND scores 40. I believe they win easily but they wont crush the orange like they should.

      1. I believe ND will chose to practice restraint in areas that include running up the score if the opportunity to do so should arise. Quite a lot has changed in NCAA CFB in recent years.

      2. why “should” they? is there a need to crush them? in the words of, ironically, a syracuse alum….al davis “JUST WIN BABY”

      3. Henighan, A win is a win and ill take that anyday but imo a 11-1 ND team might not make the playoffs based on no conference championship win. ND at 10-2 has no shot whatsoever. If ND lets inferior teams hang around like they have in the past then i believe they will get left out of the playoff picture at 11-1

    3. I disagree, if they can’t run the ball they could lose. You will see the offense struggle and the game will be within 3 points.

      1. Jack, What is it about this matchup that has you worried? If they cant run the ball against Syracuse imagine what its going to be like next week. I dont think this O-line is going to be good enough to establish the run against the better defensive teams like Stanford, Syracuse isnt Stanford. If ND cant put Syracuse away than your 8-4 or 9-3 prediction will probably hold up.

      2. This is Notre Dame’s game to give away. There is no comparison as far as size, speed and talent. Syracuse’s coaches and fans admit that much and give themselves little chance of winning.

        However, if the O-line can’t block and that translates to turnovers, that could produce an upset. I seriously doubt that will happen though with 4 or 5 players back and playing on Saturday night.

        I think we will run and pass it down their throat. I base this particularly on Syracuse’s inability to stop the run or pass thus far against crappy teams.

  20. Shazz- we are so glad to be back inside the wire again! Game on too! Real steak and real eggs laid by a real American chicken, or so we are told by our Chef De’jour! An early rise on Sunday morning will be no problem for us as the game will be starting around 0400 hrs! Too bad we will not be having any ‘sodas’ though. After the game we all will go to Mass. (cover every base!)

    If memory serves us correctly (we have an SU grad amongst us! Captain Obvious. Oh is he in for it!) the Irish owe the Orange a good old fashion payback, i.e. ‘Trip to the proverbial woodshed or in common vernacular, a good ole ASS WHIPPING!

    Hope things are all good back on the home soil. Stay strong, Stay safe. And most of all stay loyal. Go Irish! Juice Time! Hoooooooooaaaaahhhhh!!!!

    1. Warrior,

      As you know, a real American Chicken is strong, proud, & fearless…

      And that is why he’ll stand, unflinching, in the middle of the road…

      Because he isn’t afraid to lay it on the line!

      Suds for my buds!

      Cheers to you and yours!

      1. Shazz

        Hopefully the Irish will not be laying ‘it on the line’ Saturday night. Just laying it on the Orangemen will be the ticket!

        You made quite a few here cheer for the ‘Suds for my Buds’ comment! If you ever run for office let us know! Votes galore for Shazzman!

        Thanks for the words of support and encouragement. They go a long, long way with morale factors.

        Go Irish! Hooah!

      2. SFR-the consensus here is that you need to concentrate on improving and elevating your status as a man and citizen. The joke clearly appears to be YOU in your safe, comfortable enclave.

        Go Irish! Hooah.

      3. There is no ‘I’ here. We speak as a union. Something you are incapable of comprehending, no less executing. In fact the next consensus is to write you off as a minion unworthy of response.

        Stay safe in your enclave Bobby. By the way Bobby, when was the last time you ever served anything or anyone but yourself? Creep Extroidinare.

      4. Congratulations Bobby. The C-130 Herc. is a beast. L R Ark. and the 53rd A L. Sq. should be proud of its fliers.

        By the way, we didn’t thank you for all the mail, chow, and nicities you delivered.

      5. Never delivered any mail with the Warthog but for you I could make an exception. Now if you don’t mind please clean the latrine.

      6. Is it me or do all of Sad Warrior’s posts come off as a really bad war novel? Always talking about “inside the wire”, “outside the wire”, “the consensus in the unit”, talking about “SF Flight Surgeons” (whatever that is) and using the term “Hooah” waaaaay too much.

        You’re sort of trying too hard.

      7. Ha that’s classic. I totally agree. Dude we get it your in the military. I appreciate your bravery and courage and thanks for your service. So all you guys sit around one computer and your the chosen one who types. Do you then move the Texas site for those fans and one guy responds?

        Should we all include jargon from our professions when we post. Should a doctor tell you his BP and HDL levels when he posts and what the ER staff thinks of the offensive line.

        Not sure if it is chow time now or a code red needs to be delivered but talk with you soon.

      8. Ron,
        Here’s the thing. I don’t know if he’s served or not. But I am plain calling bullshit on his claiming SOF status or the idea that he is posting from a warzone. I am betting you anything he is not deployed, probably never has, and is sitting comfortably somewhere pretending to be “in the fight”

        Here is my case:

        1- In the past, I asked him what unit he served with. His reply was “Rangers” (of course it was high speed guys). I politely asked him which Batt (out of 3 Ranger Battalions or the Ranger Training Brigade). He wouldn’t or couldn’t answer the question,claiming “OPSEC” (meaning that answering the question could pose a risk to “operational security”. BULLSH*T. Naming what Battalion you are serving with is not remotely OPSEC, deployed or not. It’s not like I asked him where he was on the grid.
        2- He recently talked about an “SF flight surgeon”. There is no such thing. I asked him if he meant an Army Special Forces 18-Delta (Special Forces medic) and that I believe only the Air Force had “flight surgeons”. His answer was that he was talking about 2 different people, an SF medic and a flight surgeon. There are lots of problems with that statement. No Ranger would ever refer to an 18D as an “SF Flight Surgeon”.

        Then there’s the insufferable, CONSTANT utilization of mil phrases, “just getting back behind the wire” in time to watch the ND game with “hot chow”, “hot showers” blah blah blah. And it’s as if everyone in his platoon or unit is in constant agreement about all things football and issues in general. Yeah right. That doesn’t even make sense intuitively, let alone the fact that SOF guys tend to be some of the most individualistic people in the mil. Again, sounds like a really bad war novel.

        3. It appears he’s been deployed, in harm’s way for about 4 years now. Does he ever go home? The optempo of SOF is still hot but most Army guys are doing about 9-month rotations or so. I’ve never heard Sad Warrior talk about being stateside, although I could have missed that.

        It’s possible I’m wrong, but I doubt it.

        Yeah, he’s trying way to hard to make everybody THINK he’s some beaten down super-soldier. GAY. Army SOF guys are quiet and hardly even mention their service unless it is in the correct forum/context. Believe me- I know this very well.

        And in advance, anyone on this board who posts something to the tune of “Wow, you are anti-military/don’t support the troops” or some other such logical fallacy, you can blow me.

        Actually, go ahead and say that. I would sort of enjoy the irony.

      9. Sorry, but I forgot a couple important points.

        4. He sometimes refers to himself as a “grunt”. This term generally applies to Marine infantrymen. An Army Ranger, Army SF etc. would never refer to themself as a “grunt”. It’s anathema to who/what they are.

        5. Good-natured inter-service rivlarly and ribbing is one thing. But it appears that Sad Warrior is denigrating SteelFanBob’s service. This is unsat and probably adds to my case.

        The way the SFB talks, my bet is that he served and served in the capacity he claims.

      10. I’ve always thought the same things but having never served I don’t know the intricacies you point out. And I didn’t want to come across as anti military by saying so. It’s clear you either served or just happen to know a lot about the details of the military. Most guys I do know who have served never talk about it, particularly if they are or have been in harms way.

        As far as SFR or SFB, not sure who’s who. It’s clear we don’t send each other Christmas cards.

        Signing off from inside the wire. End EAM out, over, requesting fly by.

      11. Haha- that last line made me laugh out loud. I could go on about SW, like the fact that his “outside the wire” time seems to always be for days and days or even weeks on end, FINALLY getting back safely to the FOB. Most, not all, but most Rangers today are involved in “Direct Action” operations. DA and dynamic operations and basically a nice way of saying: “We know where the bad guys are and we are now going to literally kick down their doors and shoot them in the face.” Rangers excel at this. They are very, very good at it.

        The thing about DA is that, usually (not always though), you’re not out for days and weeks at a time. It’s a quick strike operation. Now granted, that’s certainly not all Rangers to, but it’s been a primary mission in the GWOT and has been for some time.

        SadWarrior’s postings harken back to the days of Vietnam or Korea, not 2014.

        I think he may be having his “oh shit” moment right now.

        Ok my apologies, back to ND football. I’ve made my points.

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