One win is all that separates No. 3 Notre Dame (11-0) from a perfect regular season after a complete domination of No. 12 Syracuse (8-3) on Saturday in Yankee Stadium. Notre Dame’s 36-3 victory over the Orange was highlighted by strong defense and the return of quarterback Ian Book to the offense.
Syracuse’s chances to upset the Irish faded early in the game when starting quarterback Eric Dungey left the game with an injury. His loss took a lot out of the Orange offense, which was already going to be in a tough spot against the Notre Dame defense. With Tommy DeVito taking over at quarterback off the bench, Syracuse quarterbacks combined for three interceptions and DeVito struggled with accuracy all game long. Syracuse also failed to get much going on the ground with Moe Neal, who picked up 74 yards on 18 carries.
Book passed for 292 yards and two touchdowns after sitting out last week against Florida State. The Irish ran the ball well too, with 171 team yards and a pair of touchdowns in the blowout.
Notre Dame will head to the west coast to take on USC next weekend to wrap up their regular season. A win would move Notre Dame to 12-0 and force them to await the selections from the College Football Playoff selection committee. At 12-0, Notre Dame would almost certainly be one of the four teams in the playoff at the end of the season, but seeding will still be unknown until a few more weeks are played.
Syracuse will hop back into ACC play for their regular season finale at Boston College next week. Second place in the ACC Atlantic Division will be on the line as both teams will finish behind Clemson in the division. Syracuse may have seen a chance to play in a New Years Six bowl dashed with the loss, however.