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(Photo courtesy of Cuse.com)
Despite five take-aways, Syracuse comes up short vs. Notre Dame
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (Cuse.com) - The Orange defense forced five turnovers, but it wasn't enough to upset No. 8 Notre Dame on Saturday night as Syracuse fell to the Fighting Irish, 31-15, in front of a MetLife Stadium college game record crowd of 76,802 in New York's College Classic.
Syracuse had three take-aways via fumble recovery and another two by way of interception, including Durell Eskridge's 29-yard return for touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Syracuse finished with 429 yards of offense, its third straight over 400, that came by way of 294 through the air and 135 on the ground. Notre Dame amassed 523 total yards.
Terrel Hunt was 22-of-38 passing for SU for 294 yards and one interception. He added 26 yards rushing and a touchdown.
Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson was 32-of-39 for 362 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. He completed 26 consecutive passes at one point, tying the FBS record.
Orange wide receiver Jarrod West was Hunt's top target with 103 yards on eight receptions. Notre Dame's Will Fuller was Golson's top receiver with six grabs for 119 yards and two scores.
Notre Dame jumped out to a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter quickly after the teams were in a scoreless deadlock for the first 19 minutes of the game.
Fuller found the end zone on back-to-back drives for the Irish, scampering in from 23 yards out after a screen pass from Golson. The pair would hook up on the first play of the following drive on a 72-yard deep ball over the top of the Orange defense to open up a two-score lead.
Freshman kicker Cole Murphy got the Orange on the board with 3:07 to go in the first half on a 38-yard field goal attempt and the Orange had another opportunity to cut into the lead even more with 11 seconds remaining in the half.
Golson lost control of the snap while attempting to spike the football and fumbled which was scooped up by Darius Kelly who ran it into the end zone. However, the play was ruled an incomplete pass on the field before being overturned to a fumble after a review, which nullified the advance of the fumble and 'Cuse was forced to settle with heading into the break trailing 14-3.
Following an interception, Golson drive the Irish 60 yards in nine plays and lofted a touchdown pass to Corey Robinson to give Notre Dame a 21-3 advantage to open the second half.
The Orange found the back of the end zone on the first play of the fourth quarter when Terrel Hunt broke free for seven-yard touchdown run after leading the Orange on a seven-play 72-yard drive. Murphy's extra point attempt was blocked.
Following a failed onside kick attempt by SU, Notre Dame converted on its fourth touchdown drive of the night, a 13-yard touchdown pass to Torri Hunter Jr. to answer the 'Cuse score and take a 28-9 lead.
It was with 5:09 remaining that Eskridge jumped a pass to the right flat and took it 29 yards for the score. It was the All-ACC safety's fifth career interception. It was SU's first pick-six since Keon Lyn vs. Temple in 2012.
Kyle Brindza finished the scoring with 1:57 left when he hit a 37-yard field goal for the Fighting Irish, making it 31-15.
Syracuse returns to action on Friday night at the Carrier Dome when Louisville comes to town for a 7 p.m. ACC game on ESPN.