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College Football
Preview
Syracuse vs Notre Dame
When: 12:00 PM ET, Saturday, October 1, 2016
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey

Notre Dame has played its way out of the Top 25 and out of contention for the College Football Playoff, and defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder was the first to fall as the blame spreads. The Fighting Irish will try to avoid a fourth loss when they face Syracuse at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., on Saturday.

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly was critical of both his players and his staff after a 38-35 home lost to Duke last week, and VanGorder was let go while defensive analyst Greg Hudson was promoted to take the open spot. "We're going to play with enthusiasm, we're going to play with the passion I said was missing," Kelly told reporters. "Made changes accordingly to bring that back. That will begin to show itself. You're going to see a lot more players playing. There's going to be some depth, some camaraderie. We need to get that morale up on defense and we'll do that with a lot more players involved in what we're doing on a day-to-day basis." The Orange are struggling a bit on defense as well with a total of 131 points allowed in three games against FBS opponents, though the unit looked stronger in a 31-24 triumph at Connecticut last week. "Well it's just good to say we are 2-2," Syracuse coach Dino Babers told reporters. "You would think we wouldn't take pride in that but it's better than saying you are 1-3. These guys have worked really hard and I just want to make sure they have the opportunity for it to pay off."

TV: Noon, ET, ESPN. LINE: Notre Dame -10

ABOUT SYRACUSE (2-2): The Orange will put pressure on that suspect Notre Dame defense through the air with wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo, who caught 12 passes for a school-record 270 yards and two scores in the win over UConn. The senior's five TDs are already more than his total of three from his first three seasons, and quarterback Eric Dungey is averaging 341.8 passing yards. Linebacker Zaire Franklin is the leader of the defense and recorded 14 tackles last week along with a tipped pass that led to an interception.

ABOUT NOTRE DAME (1-3): Kelly's wrath was not confined to the defense, and quarterback DeShone Kizer was included as someone whose "standard of play is not where we want it to be for him." Kizer, who won the starting job over Malik Zaire after a strong performance in a loss at Texas in the season opener, threw for 381 yards and a pair of touchdowns against Duke but was intercepted once and completed under 60 percent of his passes for a second straight game. Kizer is having some difficulty keeping up with a defense that is surrendering an average of 201 rushing yards.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Etta-Tawo can become the first player in Syracuse history to record 100 or more receiving yards in five straight games on Saturday.

2. Notre Dame LB Nyles Morgan is averaging 6.5 solo tackles.

3. The Fighting Irish took a 31-15 decision from the Orange at MetLife Stadium in the most recent meeting on Sept. 27, 2014.

PREDICTION: Notre Dame 41, Syracuse 35
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Syracuse 2-2 W1 28.0 34.5 1-2 1-0 1-0 0-0 0-1
Notre Dame 1-3 L2 37.2 33.5 1-2 0-1 1-2 0-0 0-0
Last Meeting
Syracuse Notre Dame
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
9/27/14 ND 31 SYR 15 429 135 294 523 161 362
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Syracuse T. Hunt 57.9 294 0 1
Notre Dame E. Golson 82.1 362 4 2
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Syracuse R. Dixon 1 42 42.0 0
Notre Dame G. Bryant 11 55 5.0 0
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Syracuse J. West 8 103 12.9 0
Notre Dame W. Fuller 6 119 19.8 2
Touchdowns Player TD
Syracuse D. Eskridge 1
Notre Dame W. Fuller 2
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Syracuse E. Dungey 65.4 1367 9 3
Notre Dame D. Kizer 62.1 1096 11 3
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Syracuse D. Strickland 61 226 3.7 0
Notre Dame J. Adams 47 238 5.1 1
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Syracuse A. Etta-Tawo 40 706 17.6 5
Notre Dame E. St. Brown 21 359 17.1 4
Touchdowns Player TD
Syracuse A. Etta-Tawo 5
Notre Dame D. Kizer 5
Quickchart Matchup
Syracuse Syracuse Off vs  Notre Dame Notre Dame Def
Syracuse 496.5 yards
Notre Dame 454 yards
Syracuse 3.2 yards/rush
Notre Dame 4.4 yards/rush
Syracuse 7.9 yards/attempt
Notre Dame 9.1 yards/attempt
Notre Dame Notre Dame Off vs  Syracuse Syracuse Def
Notre Dame 455.8 yards
Syracuse 466.8 yards
Notre Dame 4.3 yards/rush
Syracuse 5.5 yards/rush
Notre Dame 8.9 yards/attempt
Syracuse 7.4 yards/attempt