Notre Dame shifts focus on matchup at No. 16 Syracuse

Irish will face 3 ACC teams over next 4 weeks
Notre Dame wide receiver Jayden Thomas (83) catches a long pass during the first quarter an...
Notre Dame wide receiver Jayden Thomas (83) catches a long pass during the first quarter an NCAA college football game against UNLV, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Marc Lebryk)(Marc Lebryk | AP)
Published: Oct. 26, 2022 at 1:47 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Notre Dame will have quite a different challenge than UNLV provided on Saturday at home, when the Irish travel to New York this weekend to face No. 16 Syracuse.

The Orange have a high-powered offense that averages over 30 points per game. Part of that is thanks to sophomore running back Sean Tucker, who as a freshman ran for nearly 1500 yards and 12 touchdowns.

This season, Tucker is averaging over 20 carries per game – go except for last week, when he carried the ball just five times and the Orange suffered their first loss of the season at No. 5 Clemson.

Notre Dame defensive coordinator Al Golden touched on what makes Tucker a threat to his defense.

“The games always unfold differently, you know?” Golden said. “Whether it’s out of the backfield, as a receiver, him being displaced in the formation or getting the ball, he’s a challenge. If he’s not the best, he’s one of the top two that we’ve seen because he is a complete back. He’s an every-down back, he can run in short yards, he can run in the low red goal line, and he’s a very effective receiver on third down.””

Meanwhile, the Irish (4-3) are about to begin a stretch that puts them up against three ACC opponents over the next four weeks.

To take a line from Tim Priester from Irish Illustrated, “Playing in the Big 12 conference is the first to 50 points, playing in the Big Ten may be first the 15.” But what’s the style of the ACC? Head Coach Marcus Freeman was asked about it during Monday’s press conference.

“I wish I could say it was just one thing,” Freeman said. “And as I evaluate, I see some explosive offense and good defenses. Obviously, Syracuse has a good defense. You watch Clemson, they’ve got a good defense. I watched the Syracuse-NC State game, which really was a battle on both sides of the ball, but it really was a defensive battle for a large part of that game. And so, I see extremely good quarterback play. That’s one thing that I do notice when I watch ACC games is there’s some really good quarterbacks in this conference, and so it’s good football and well coached.”

Kickoff on Saturday at the JMA Wireless Dome in Syracuse is slated for 12 p.m. The game will air on ABC.