Orange Fall to 0-3 in New York's College Classic
|Posted on September 27, 2014 at 10:15 PM|
By Dan Tortora
The Syracuse Orange entered the second half behind 14-3 after a questionable call that turned a potential fumble recovery for a touchdown into a recovery on their own 25-yard line.
On their opening drive of the second half, Syracuse achieved a strong offensive play to open their drive on a pass completion by quarterback Terrel Hunt, paralleling how Hunt began the team's first drive of the first half. But just as on that first drive of the first half, the Orange did not put any points on the board. This time, Hunt threw an interception on an attempt over the middle.
Unlike the Orange, the Irish offense capitalized on their defense's forced turnover as Notre Dame wide receiver Corey Robinson fought a physical hand check with Syracuse cornerback Brandon Reddish to get free and grab the Irish's third touchdown of the game. With 9:39 to go in the third quarter, Notre Dame had ridden their momentum to a 21-3 advantage.
Syracuse would punt on their second drive of the second half with no answer to Notre Dame yet again...or would they?
After taking a penalty for delay of game, the Orange on 4th-&-7 would fake the punt and punter Riley Dixon would hold onto the ball for a 42-yard run, giving Syracuse their most impressive offensive play of the night, and some hope.
But on 4th-&-1, Hunt would not get over the first-down marker and Dixon's special teams' standout rush was erased as the Orange turned the ball over to the Irish on downs.
Just as in the first half, though, the Syracuse defense bailed out the offense with strong safety Ritchy Desir being responsible for the third forced fumble by the Orange in this game, a fumble that was recovered by free safety Durell Eskridge.
Hunt had his best passing drive of the game at this point, completing all four of his attempts, the first three to wide receiver Jarrod West and the latter to wide receiver Steve Ishmael, a 25-yard play that placed the Orange on the Irish seven-yard line to start the final quarter.
Trusting his arm to help get Syracuse there, Hunt then put the trust in his feet, keeping the ball for a seven-yard rushing touchdown, preventing Notre Dame from getting him down as the Orange reached the end zone for the first time in the contest with 14:54 remaining.
Syracuse's onside kick did not fool anyone on Notre Dame; the Irish had the ball at midfield to start their first drive of the fourth quarter with 14:53 left in the match-up.
How did they spend the better field position? By crossing over the Syracuse goal-line for the fourth time as wide receiver Torii Hunter, Jr., achieved a touchdown on a 13-yard pass play, giving Notre Dame a 28-9 advantage with 10:19 remaining.
At that time, Irish quarterback Golson had completed more passes (31) than Orange quarterback Hunt had attempted (22).
The 13-yard touchdown play to Hunter, Jr., was also the fourth passing touchdown by Golson in the game, giving Golson a passing touchdown to three different wide receivers with Hunter, Jr., joining Will Fuller who had the team's first two and Corey Robinson.
On Syracuse's following drive, kicker Cole Murphy came in to attempt a 37-yard field goal after making a 38-yarder earlier in the game. Unlike his makes from 49 and 38 yards away, this attempt did not enter the net through the uprights. Murphy's first miss of his young career turned the ball over on downs for the Orange by the seven-minute mark.
But the Syracuse defense continued to provide the best opportunity for the orange and blue...well, the gray, orange, and blue with the new alternate uniforms being unveiled in their first game...as free safety Durell Eskridge read Golson the whole way, intercepting his pass attempt and returning the ball 29 yards to cross the threshold.
The Orange would fail in their attempt for a two-point conversion to follow, cutting their deficit to 13, 28-15, with 5:09 left on the clock.
Unlike Murphy of Syracuse, Kyle Brindza of Notre Dame connected on his 37-yard field goal attempt, his first try of the night, to extend the Irish out to a 31-15 lead with 1:57 to play.
Syracuse's offense would continue to sputter as the Orange end their final drive with a Hunt throw to the ground on 4th-&-10, heading back to New York with a 31-15 loss, falling to 2-2, going 0-2 after starting 2-0 on the season.
Notre Dame improves to 4-0 and has now held all four of their opponents under 20 points on the season.
This Syracuse versus Notre Dame was a win for both sides off the field, however, as this game drew the largest crowd for a college football contest held at MetLife Stadium with 76,802 fans in attendance.
The previous record at MetLife Stadium also included Notre Dame, when 75,614 fans came out to see Notre Dame take on Navy on October 23, 2010.
Notre Dame heads back to South Bend for a 3:30pm ET match-up at home against the Stanford Cardinal on Saturday, October 4th.
Syracuse will also be at home to face their next opponent, the Louisville Cardinals, in their first conference contest of the season inside the ACC, beginning at 7pm ET on Friday, October 3rd.
Categories: Syracuse Orange Football, Atlantic Coast Conference