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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86 comments

  1. JDH 5 years ago

    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.

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  2. bruce johnson 5 years ago

    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.

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    1. Shazamrock 5 years ago

      “A mind is a terrible thing to waste”

      -UNITED NEGRO COLLEGE FUND-

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    2. JDH 5 years ago

      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…

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  3. bruce johnson 5 years ago

    peace

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    1. Shazamrock 5 years ago

      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!

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