Everett Golson survives rough performance, No. 8 Irish beat Syracuse 31-15


Everett Golson survived a five turnover performance, set a school record for consecutive completions, and threw four touchdown passes as the No. 8 Notre Dame Fighting Irish beat the Syracuse Orangemen 31-15 at MetLife Stadium. To say the game was filled with highs and lows would be an understatement.

The Irish (4-0) looked poised to score on their first drive as they moved the ball into Syracuse (2-2) territory. As Golson (32/39, 362 yds, 4 TD/2 INT) scrambled on third down to the Cuse 16, Golson was stripped of the ball by Dyshawn Davis and was recovered by Cuse. Syracuse failed to capitalize, and that would become all too familiar an occurrence for the evening.

Later in the first quarter, Golson threw an errant pass that was intercepted by Brandon Reddish. It was Golson’s first of the season. After playing near flawless football in the first three weeks, the game was off to an auspicious start for Golson.

Brian Kelly could be seen taking his quarterback aside on the sideline and having a calm chat with the struggling signal caller. For the most part, it seemed to help.

On their first drive of the second quarter, which started at their own five, the Irish worked the ball down the field with short passes as Syracuse continued to load the box and apply pressure up the middle. The drive culminated in a 23 yard TD pass to William Fuller, who cut across the grain of the defense for the score.

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After another defensive stop by the Irish, Kelly wasted no time testing the Syracuse secondary after nickel and diming them the previous drive. Golson went deep, connecting with Fuller for a 72 yard TD pass, the second of the game.

Syracuse was finally able to expose some holes in the Irish secondary, as Cuse quarterback Terrel Hunt was able to drive them down field, eventually into scoring position for a 38 yard field goal by Cole Murphy. Hunt (22/38, 294 yds, 1 INT) took a hard hit, then landed on his hip on the final run of the drive. The injury affected him for the duration of the contest, but he never missed any snaps.

The Irish two-minute offense was running smoothly as they drove down the field to the Syracuse 25. As Golson went to spike the ball to stop the clock, he never had complete control before batting it to the ground. The play was reviewed and deemed a fumble, keeping the Irish from tacking on any points before the half.

After stopping Syracuse on their initial drive, the irish would score again, this time on a fade pass to Corey Robinson from eight yards out to put the Irish up 21-3.

Syracuse began the fourth quarter with a seven yard rushing score from Hunt. It was the first rushing touchdown allowed by the Irish this season. The extra point was blocked, leaving the score at 21-9.

The Irish responded quickly, moving the ball down the field. Golson would eventually connect with Torii Hunter Jr., who just returned from injury, with a 13 yard score. Hunter had broke his leg his senior season in high school and red-shirted last season. He was dealing with a groin injury, and was seeing his first action of the season.

With the Irish up 28-9, Cuse kicker Cole Murphy hit the upright and missed the field goal. The Irish would take over deep in their own territory. On a fourth and short, the Orangemen deeked Golson, and Durell Eskridge picked the Golson pass and returned it for a pick-six. The Cuse failed on the two-point conversion, as the Irish still lead 28-15.

After a failed onside kick by Syracuse, the Irish would work the clock, driving the ball down to the Cuse 20. Kyle Brindza would connect on the 37 yard field goal, giving the Irish the lead at 31-15. They’ve now score 30+ in their first three game, which hasn’t happened since the 1943 team did it in their first six.

Golson missed the NCAA record of 26 consecutive completions by one, but did set a new school record. The record still belongs to Dominique Davis of ECU, which he did in 2011.

Greg Bryant led the trio of Irish running backs with 55 yards on 11 carries. Fuller finished with 119 yards and 2 TDs, while Robinson caught eight balls (he had five coming in), for 91 yards and a TD.

The Irish will host No. 16 Stanford next week at Notre Dame Stadium.