No. 3 Notre Dame, No. 12 Syracuse set for Yankee Stadium showdown
Field Level Mediaon
Perhaps it's fitting that No. 3 Notre Dame and No. 12 Syracuse will meet Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium, since each team has its share of home run threats.
The Fighting Irish (10-0) appear to have only the Orange (8-2) as a serious threat to their College Football Playoff invitation, since they'll finish the regular season against a .500 Southern Cal team.
When discussing the perils of playing New York-based Syracuse this week, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly brought up one Syracuse player right away, senior quarterback Eric Dungey.
In four years leading the Orange, Dungey has thrown for 8,665 yards and 54 touchdowns and rushed for 1,929 yards and 32 touchdowns. This season, he has thrown for 2,193 yards and 14 scores, while piling up 690 yards rushing and scoring 12 more touchdowns.
Yet, Kelly says Dungey's real danger is in "the intangibles."
"When you have a guy that is fearless and has that kind of toughness, he's going to do whatever he needs to do to find a way to make something happen," he said.
That's not to say his tangibles are shaky, either. Dungey is listed at 6-foot-4, 226 pounds.
"He's big, he's strong. Play breaks down, he's scoring a run. ... It's 3rd and 3 or 3rd and 4 in the zone read, and he keeps it, and there's a guy standing right there. You catch and tackle him, and he's going to fall forward for four yards."
Then there are the "home run threats" at running back, Kelly said, such as junior running back Moe Neal, who has 716 yards rushing, including a long of 68 yards, and five touchdowns.
The Orange will be facing a defense that is allowing less than 18.7 points a game, (15th in FBS) and 330.1 yards a game (25th).
The Syracuse defense, which is allowing 27.6 points a game (70th) and 430.3 yards a game (97th) -- will have its own heavy hitters to worry about.
Notre Dame junior quarterback Ian Book is expected back from a rib injury, and his numbers will make any coach opposing shudder: 152 of 204 passing (74.5 percent) for 1,824 yards and 15 touchdowns.
--Field Level Media
Senior running back Dexter Williams is averaging almost 7 yards a carry in rushing for 770 yards (including a long of 97 yards) and 10 touchdowns.
Notre Dame's offense "is so good. You're trying to match suits with them and then before you know it, you're behind and then the floodgates open and the game is over," Syracuse coach Dino Babers said. "You've got to kind of find a way to see if you can get into the second half and get into the third and fourth quarter and make it a tight game."