SU Football: Syracuse vs Notre Dame at Metlife Stadium

Notre Dame pulls away from Syracuse football for 50-33 victory

SU closes deficit before halftime, but fails to answer Fighting Irish touchdowns on back-to-back drives in the third quarter

The Syracuse Orange football team was an extra point away from tying the score against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on its first possession Saturday at MetLife Stadium.

After an Irish touchdown on the first play of the game, SU quarterback Eric Dungey capped off an eight play, 75-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown run. But, the Orange’s extra point attempt was blocked by Notre Dame and returned for an Irish two-point conversion.

Photo: Bryan Cereijo
Syracuse's Ervin Phillips (left) and Steve Ishmael attempt to catch a pass against Notre Dame Saturday at MetLife Stadium.

Syracuse (2-3, 0-1 ACC) would fail to get that close again, falling, 50-33, in an offensive shootout in East Rutherford.

SU and Notre Dame (2-3) registered huge offensive numbers in the first half and racked up one big play after another. Irish quarterback DeShone Kizer connected with sophomore wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown for touchdown receptions of 79 and 67 yards on back-to-back drives. The Orange responded later in the first quarter, with Dungey finding his favorite target, redshirt-senior Amba Etta-Tawo, for a 72-yard score to cut the Orange deficit to 16-13.

Notre Dame recorded 403 total yards in the game’s opening 30 minutes and Kizer walked to the locker room at half time with 356 yards through the air and two scores. But, the Orange ended the period down just 33-27. Senior Brisly Estime returned an Irish punt 75-yards and Dungey found receiver Ervin Phillips across the middle of the field for a touchdown with 30 seconds left in the second quarter to give the Orange momentum heading into the locker-room.

But SU's momentum quickly evaporated following halftime. Syracuse stalled on its first drive of the third quarter, and Notre Dame scored on back-to-back drives, both of which ended on big plays. Kizer found freshman wide receiver Kevin Stephenson for a 54-yard score and less than three minutes later, sophomore running back Dexter Williams took a hand-off, reversed up field, and broke away from the Orange defense for a 59-yard touchdown.

“[Notre Dame] has a very dynamic offense,” Syracuse head coach Dino Babers said. “They have personnel that can stretch you vertically. Tremendous offense line….It takes a while to get around them.”

Syracuse did not score in the third quarter as Kizer and the Irish managed to pull away. For the game Kizer finished with 471 passing yards and four total touchdowns.  As a team Notre Dame registered 654 yards of offense.

“There is always a level of concern,” Babers said about SU’s defense. “That is a very, very young defense with a lot of young players on it and they’re going against 21, 22 year old guys...You have to give them time to grow.”

Dungey tallied five scores, three rushing and two passing, with all but one coming in the first half, while Etta-Tawo cracked the 100-yard receiving mark for the fifth consecutive game. He accumulated 134 yards and a touchdown.

“I love it,” Dungey said about playing in Babers’ up-tempo offense. “I’m excited I get two and half more years of this. The guys are doing a great job. I’m just so excited about the future and what this holds.”

Syracuse will return to action on Sept. 8 at Wake Forest. Kick-off is set for 7 p.m. in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.



  • Etta-Tawo is the first player in Syracuse history to record five straight games of 100 or more receiving yards.
  • Two-time Super Bowl champion coach Tom Coughlin, a Syracuse alum, participated in the opening coin toss prior to kick-off.


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