OCTOBER 1, 2016 -- The University of Notre Dame football team (2-3) blew by Syracuse (2-3) with 657 yards of offense in a 50-33 victory in front of 62,794 spectators at MetLife Stadium 62,794 in East Rutherford, N.J. on Saturday afternoon.
Junior DeShone Kizer completed 23 of 35 passes for 471 yards and three touchdowns to key the Irish offense, while the defense steadied the ship to shut out the Orange in the third quarter and allow Notre Dame to seize control of the game.
The first quarter was a memorable 15 minutes, as the Irish scored on a 79-yard pass play to Equanimeous St. Brown on the first play from scrimmage. Syracuse quickly answered, but graduate student defensive tackle Jarron Jones blocked his second point-after-attempt of the season and the ball was scooped up by senior Cole Luke who returned it for two points.
Three plays later, Kizer hit St. Brown for six points again, this time for 67 yards and the first half offensive fireworks were in full display. The first quarter saw 36 points scored (23 by Notre Dame), a 93-yard kick return for a touchdown by sophomore C.J. Sanders and a 76-yard touchdown pass for Syracuse.
After the first half fireworks, however, the Irish defense settled in and found a groove, shutting out Syracuse in the third quarter while Notre Dame posted two 50-plus yard scoring plays from freshman Kevin Stepherson and sophomore Dexter Williams to take control of the contest.
Next up for the Irish will be a trip to NC State, while Syracuse will head to Wake Forest.
PLAY OF THE GAME:
Kizer stepped up in the pocket, hit St. Brown in stride and the sophomore wide receiver split through three Orange defensive players to finish off Notre Dame's longest offensive play of the season.
-- Notre Dame Football (@NDFootball) October 1, 2016
PLAYERS OF THE GAME:
OFFENSE: DeShone Kizer, 471 yards passing, three touchdowns, one rushing touchdown. The 471 yards passing are the third-most in a single game in Notre Dame football history.
STAT OF THE GAME:
657 yards of offense for Notre Dame.
Notre Dame scored twice in its first three plays from scrimmage to set the tone in the game. Kizer threatened one of the longest-lasting quarterback records at Notre Dame (526 passing yards by Joe Theismann against Southern Cal in 1970) and the Irish rushed for over 150 yards as a team.
NOTES OF THE GAME:
- The Irish defense forced four straight punts and a turnover on downs on the first five drives of the second half by Syracuse.
- Jarron Jones blocked his second point-after-touchdown attempt of the year (and sixth blocked kick of his career). Both of Jones' PAT blocks this year have been returned for two points.
St. Brown also became the first player with multiple catches of at least 67-yards in one game since Michael Floyd against Nevada in 2009. Floyd had touchdown grabs of 70 and 88 yards in the 35-0 victory over the Wolf Pack.
Notre Dame's third down stop to start the third quarter, followed by a Kizer to Kevin Stepherson touchdown pass.
There were 60 combined points scored by the Irish and Orange in the first half, but the first possession of the second half for Syracuse foretold a different story for the second half. Notre Dame rose up for a third down stop on a quarterback pressure from James Onwualu. Five plays later, Kizer threw a perfect deep ball to Stepherson for a 54-yard touchdown strike and the Irish had seized control of the game.
SOCIAL MEDIA MOMENT OF THE GAME:
-- The Fighting Irish (@FightingIrish) October 1, 2016