Which Fighting Irish team will show up in Syracuse? (Notre Dame at Syracuse pregame thoughts)

Which Notre Dame Fighting Irish squad will we see roll into New York tomorrow? The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have been a monument to inconsistency this season. While looking great in some games and totally lost in others, what can fans expect from the Notre Dame Fighting Irish come Saturday? Unfortunately, in my unprofessional opinion, who could even tell you?!

This Notre Dame team is lacking any semblance of an identity on or off the field. This ND team is consistently playing under the standard that the talent on paper should allow. This starts from the top down. While it is Marcus’ job to define a program identity, it is Tommy’s to find our offensive identity. While I thought we may have had it figured out following the BYU game few weeks back, we just have not gotten back to that production since.

Drew Pyne simply is not making the throws necessary of a quarterback in today’s football, let alone what should be expected at Notre Dame. Michael Mayer will get his receptions in this one, as the best tight end in college football always will. While I fully expect the Notre Dame offensive unit to run the ball effectively, a receiver must step us as anyone would fully expect Michael Mayer to smothered in coverage and spotlighted by the defense.

Michael Mayer has been Drew Pyne’s only outlet through pretty much the entirety of Drew’s time under center. He has eyes for no one else, and that is a problem. Drew Pyne doesn’t have the confidence in himself to go outside at this point in time. Even if it takes going to those short quick outside routes, the ball can not be going to the middle each and every down. Teams like Syracuse will not allow for the Mayer dump to work each and every play.

Time to take the blinders off.

I don’t know if anyone can expect that to change at this point in the season, but I have to think this side is more capable than just relying to gain all ground in between the hash marks. When a defense doesn’t have to worry about defending 2/3rds of the field, they can really give your offense headaches.

Defensively, Syracuse is not going to let the Fighting Irish get away with broken tackles as easily as UNLV had. Our defense is going to need to bring a little more than they had last week. While the Irish limited the Rebels to 14, that still was a poor, poor team on paper. Syracuse will give us a much tougher test, and if the Irish come out as flat as they had, the Orange could gouge the Irish for huge yards.

Syracuse is currently sitting at 6-1. Sean Tucker is the Orange’s go to playmaker. The running back currently sits 3rd in rushing yards in the ACC with 698. He is a bruiser and will absolutely be the one looking to test the Irish defense. While their offense will be looking to outpace the Irish, it is their defense that will look to truly give Marcus Freeman, Tommy Rees, and the Irish offense fits.

Syracuse is currently giving up 15.5 pts a game. Their defense remains very tough against weaker competition, a task that Notre Dame has often taken for granted. Meaning this should be one of the tougher defenses Notre Dame has faced to date. If Notre Dame doesn’t come out in the same manner as they had against UNC and BYU offensively, it could be another sputtering, lackluster performance.

While most of this has been critical, I want to end my short thoughts expressing how I truly believe Notre Dame will win this game. Because they very well could show up and play up to their own talent. You just never know with this year’s Notre Dame team. Here’s hoping Drew Pyne can get the Irish receivers involved, at this point in the season it’s now or never. Down With Syracuse!!!

Play like an absolute champ,

-Big Red

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