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No. 16 Syracuse Football Looks to Get Back into the Win Column against Notre Dame

Syracuse’s Ja'Had Carter (1) scoops up a D.J. Uiagalelei fumble and takes it 90 yards for an Orange touchdown.

Syracuse is coming off its first and only loss so far this season, 27-21 to fifth ranked Clemson last weekend. The Orange hung tough with the Tigers, though. SU held a 21-10 lead over Clemson at halftime, before surrendering 17 fourth quarter points to fall behind for good. The offense went scoreless in the second half but the defense performed all game, forcing four turnovers, and earning praise from head coach Dino Babers as a result.

“It was unbelievable. It’s one I wish we could have had a ‘W’ with. We also understand that we win together, we lose together.”

This Saturday’s opponent, Notre Dame, has not had the type of season it expected. The Fighting Irish came into this year ranked fifth in the AP preseason poll. But after starting the season 0-2, Notre Dame fell to unranked status for the first time in nearly five full calendar years, and that’s where it still is with a record of 4-3 now. Head coach Dino Babers still isn’t taking them lightly.

“It’s one of those schools that you always hope, if you’re a competitor, that you get an opportunity to play. Once again they’re having a good season. I’ve been around awhile, it’s very very difficult to beat these guys.”

The Fighting Irish may be putting things together as the season progresses as well. They’re 4-1 since the 0-2 start to the year, including a 44-21 whooping of UNLV last Saturday. Sophomore running back Logan Diggs had a career day against the Rebels, collecting 130 rushing yards on 28 attempts, both career bests. Quarterback Drew Pyne added 205 yards through the air and a pair of touchdowns. The sophomore QB started seeing regular game action after the Fighting Irish’s slow start.

On Syracuse’s side of things, Garret Shrader and the offense are aiming to get back on track this weekend. Shrader threw for 167 yards against Clemson, a new season low, and was even with one touchdown pass to one interception. On the ground, Sean Tucker ran for 54 yards, his second fewest of the season, on just five carries, the fewest touches the sophomore has had in 2022. Head coach Dino Babers plans to get his All-American RB more involved this Saturday.

“When it comes to Tucker having five carries, that's something that should not happen. I agree with everyone else that he should have more carries than that in a football game. And that has been addressed.”

Sean Tucker (34) scores a touchdown on a 12-yard pass from Garrett Shrader last weekend at Clemson.

Notre Dame hasn’t played inside the Dome since 2003, when the Orange beat the Irish 38-12. In addition, Cuse hasn’t taken down ND in nearly 15 years. You have to go back to 2008 to find the last SU victory in this matchup, when the Orange barely squeaked out a one point win in South Bend. With a potentially huge win looming, Dino Babers expects the Syracuse faithful to show up, and show out.

“I expect it to be, and I hope it to be, a coming out party for our fans in front of the national media. I mean this needs to be an animal party,” Babers said, “Hopefully the fans will come out and show them exactly what our 12th man can do.”

Kickoff from inside the JMA Wireless Dome is set for noon this Saturday. Our coverage on WAER will begin at 11:30, with the McClurg Team Countdown to Kickoff.