Three Reasons Why Notre Dame Will Beat Syracuse This Weekend

The third-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish will take on the 12th-ranked Syracuse Orange in Yankee Stadium this weekend in the only top-15 matchup of week 12.

The Orange (8-2) have been perfect in their home state of New York, but as Notre Dame (10-0) competes for a spot in the College Football Playoff, they will look to end Syracuse’s 4-game winning streak.

Although this matchup is the hardest game left on Notre Dame’s schedule, the Irish should be able to post a solid performance. Here’s why:

1. Notre Dame is strong in adversity

The Irish have come through plenty of trials this year. Although they have remained relatively healthy, they lost senior captain and offensive lineman Alex Bars’s to injury, a loss which cost them in both on-field experience and off-field leadership. Bars’s place has been quickly filled, however, with minimal drop in play. Trevor Ruhland and Aaron Banks, who have filled in for Bars, have proven to be tough, nose-to-the-grindstone players who have allowed the Irish offense to continue to dominate.

Irish offensive lineman Alex Bars, image courtesy of CBS Sports

Notre Dame also played without star quarterback Ian Book last week, who was out with a rib injury. Book’s shoes were quickly filled, however, by senior quarterback Brandon Wimbush, who was the Irish starter at the beginning of the season. Wimbush’s poise and confidence last week against Florida State showed that the Irish can take what they have and run with it.

Finally, this is a Notre Dame team that never gives up. Despite trailing for almost the entire game against the University of Pittsburgh, the Irish were able to pull it off and keep their spotless season alive.

2. The Book Club is back in session

After Book missed last week’s game against the Seminoles, Book is back in the starting position this week against Syracuse. Despite his injury, Book was able to get an extra week of rest, allowing him the opportunity to reset from what has been a non-stop season for him since he gained the starting position.

Junior quarterback Ian Book, image courtesy of Sporting News

Book is currently posting insane numbers, sitting at a 74.5% completion rate. As the weeks go on, Book continues to increase his range and become more confident in his own run game. Additionally, with an incredibly solid offensive line which gives him plenty of time in the pocket, Book is able to see the field well and make smart decisions with the ball.

3.  Dexter Williams is loose

Despite missing the first four games with a suspension, Williams has quickly emerged as Notre Dame’s top rusher. With 770 yards on the season, Williams has more than twice the yards as the next highest Irish player, Tony Jones Jr., who has 367 yards on the season.   

Irish running back Dexter Williams, image courtesy of UHND.

Another special quality Williams has is that he can break the field wide open. Although much of his success can be credited to the offensive line, he can hold his own on the field, shaking off tackles and juking his opponents. With Williams, Notre Dame’s rushing game has become an enormous part of their offense.

 

Although Syracuse is a strong team anchored by a veteran quarterback, Notre Dame has so much to play for at this point in the season that they won’t let this game slip away. I predict that the Irish will come away from this one on top, 35-21.