Notre Dame Football Opponent Preview: Syracuse Orange Defense


This week Notre Dame faces their first road test of the season as the team embarks on a journey to MetLife Stadium taking on the Syracuse Orange. Syracuse (2-1, 0-0 ACC) is coming of a 34-20 loss to Maryland in the Carrier Dome. After allowing 31 first half points to the Terps’, the Orange defense held it together in the second half forcing five consecutive punts but were unable to overcome the early deficit. On the season, the Orange are allowing 21 points per game and will have to play fast, sound and inspired football to keep up with the Notre Dame offense.

Chuck Bullough leads the Orange in his second season as Defensive Coordinator. Before landing in Syracuse, Bullough spent two seasons coaching linebackers for the Cleveland Browns and spent four years prior at UCLA; two coaching linebackers, followed by two years coordinating the defense. This 4-3 defense has twelve sacks on the season, allows just over 100 yards per game on the ground and 220 yards through the air.

The difference for the Orange this weekend is that #8 Notre Dame is romping into the big-city with an offensive unit preapared and confident to take the game to task. Last week against a Power 5 team in Maryland, Syracuse’s defense gave up 369 yards, 280 came through the air on 16/26 passing from Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown.

Notre Dame has shown weakness with an inability to establish an over-powering ground attack, which through three games, and Everett Golson finding comfort playing backyard style of football, the Irish offense as a whole has been dominant. The Orange will have to decide on a game plan, but expect the Irish to exploit whichever attack (passing or rushing) Syracuse leaves open. If the Orange come out with a bland-style of defense, still expect the Irish to run, and without loading the box with eight defenders, Irish running backs could be due for their first breakout game of the season.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Cameron Lynch – LB #38

Last week, Lynch had seven total tackles with one sack and a TFL. On the season he has five of the twelve team sacks.

Check out a 2013 highlight video of Lynch making plays all over the field.