Syracuse vs No. 2 Notre Dame

Syracuse vs No. 2 Notre Dame | 2020 NCAAF Expert Analysis

Written by on December 4, 2020

The ACC announced a series of scheduling changes Tuesday that allowed Notre Dame to clinch a spot in the ACC Championship Game so the Irish might be caught in a bit of a letdown game Saturday against a bad Syracuse team.

How to Bet Syracuse at Notre Dame NCAA Football Odds & TV Info

  • When: Saturday, 2:30 PM ET
  • Where: Notre Dame Stadium
  • TV: NBC
  • Stream: NBC Sports app
  • Radio:com
  • Opening NCAAF Lines: Notre Dame -33.5 (total 52)

Series History

Saturday’s game will be the 10th all-time meeting between Syracuse and Notre Dame, but first as conference foes after the Fighting Irish joined the ACC for the 2020 season only. The Irish lead 6-3, including three-straight neutral site victories, but Syracuse won its most recent trip to South Bend in 2008. The teams last met in 2018 at Yankee Stadium and the Irish rolled 36-3.

Why Bet on Syracuse? | 2020 NCAAF Expert Analysis

This is the season finale for disappointing Syracuse (1-9). The Orange lost a seventh straight game last Saturday, 36-29 vs. NC State. SU got to the Wolfpack seven-yard line before running out of downs late.

QB Rex Culpepper threw for 254 yards and two scores as Syracuse came up just short. Wide receiver Taj Harris had a career day, hauling in a personal-best 13 passes for 146 yards. The Orange had a season-high six sacks and two takeaways to up their national lead to 22. Linebacker Mikel Jones created yet another takeaway, with his fourth interception on the year, a mark that ranks first in the ACC and third in FBS football.

Six Syracuse freshmen (four true, two redshirt) started vs. NC State, breaking the previous program record for most freshman to start on one side of the ball (5), which was set in the prior two games (vs. Boston College and at Louisville). In each of the last seven games, Syracuse has started four-or-more freshmen on defense. Prior to this season, four was the most freshmen starters on one side of the ball in program history.

After returning a 98-yard kickoff for a touchdown, the first kickoff return touchdown for the Orange since 2011, Trebor Pena was named the ACC Specialist of the Week. Following the first NC State points of the game, Pena erased Syracuse’s deficit on the ensuing kickoff, slicing through the Wolfpack defense for a house call. It was the first kickoff return score since Dorian Graham returned one the same distance in a 2011 contest vs. West Virginia.

Tight end Aaron Hackett is tied for the Syracuse record in career touchdown receptions by a tight end, one shy of becoming the program’s all-time record holder. Hackett enters Saturday’s contest tied with Nick Provo (9) for the most TD catches by an Orange tight end.

Running back Sean Tucker enters Saturday’s game ranked sixth in Orange history in rushing yards by a freshman with 525. Andre Szmyt has 56 career field goals made and is three away from tying the Orange’s all-time record, held by Cole Murphy.

Why Bet on Notre Dame? | 2020 NCAAF Expert Analysis

The Irish avoided an upset last Friday at No. 19 North Carolina, 31-17. Ian Book completed 23-of-33 passes for 279 yards and one touchdown. Book also had an effective day on the ground, finishing the game with 48 yards on eight carries. Javon McKinley was Book’s favorite target on the day, hauling in six receptions for a career-high 135 yards. Kyren Williams led the way on the ground with 124 yards on 23 carries and three total touchdowns, marking his second career three-touchdown game.

Defensively, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah was all over the field in leading the team with nine tackles, which tied a career high. North Carolina entered the game averaging 43.3 points per game and the Irish defense held the hosts to a season-low 17 points on the day. The Irish also limited the Tar Heels to just 298 total yards after coming into the game averaging 563.4 yards per game. The Tar Heels only mustered 87 yards rushing, the fewest for them in a game since 2017.

Owusu-Koramoah has been named a semifinalist for the Butkus Award, which honors the top linebacker in college football. Sixteen semifinalists were selected. Owusu-Koramoah, a preseason All-ACC First Team selection, has totaled 44 tackles this season, which ranks second on Notre Dame’s defense, while he leads the team with 8.5 tackles-for-loss. He has been responsible for forcing multiple turnovers, including an interception, a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown and two forced fumbles this season. The defense has yielded just 16.7 points/game through the first eight games of the season. That figure ranks third among all Power 5 teams.

Book is currently 14-0 as a starter in Notre Dame Stadium. A win vs. Syracuse would give him a perfect record at home. He is also 18-0 as a starter against ACC teams. The Irish boast a current win streak of 14 games, the longest among all FBS teams.

Notre Dame has won 23-straight games at home dating back to Sept. 30, 2017. Notre Dame has not achieved three-straight undefeated home seasons since 1987-89.

Game Trends

  • Orange are 5-2 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
  • Orange are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games following a straight up loss.
  • Fighting Irish are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games following a ATS win.
  • Fighting Irish are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games as a favorite.
  • Under is 3-1-1 in the last 5 meetings.

Expert College Football Prediction

Notre Dame 40, Syracuse 13


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