Notre Dame hopes new attitude means better D vs. Syracuse

Now let this sink in: They were bashed last Saturday inside of Notre Dame Stadium by offensively challenged Duke for 38 points. Brian Kelly's squad is eliminated from College Football Playoff contention, and defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder was dismissed after the loss to the Blue Devils last week. The Orange was unable to take advantage of that miscue as junior kicker Cole Murphy pulled a 40-yard field goal wide left.

The score of the Notre Dame game against Syracuse is 23-13, which is a pretty reasonable score for a football game.

All that added up to Notre Dame (2-3) ending a two-game losing streak Saturday in a 50-33 victory over Syracuse (2-3). That's a number on which Greg Hudson's group can build going forward. Like ND, Syracuse is struggling on defense, allowing 34.5 points and 466.8 yards per game. We've got to build a better base there, and that starts with me making sure that happens. I wasn't great, there were a lot of aspects of our defense that weren't great.

Notre Dame rotated a ton of players on Saturday, getting guys like safety Nicco Fertitta, defensive tackle Elijah Taylor and linebacker Asmar Bilal their first meaningful snaps of their college careers (all are sophomores).

But maybe he's just what the Irish need. "They're bringing them in left and right".

Kelly said he told Kizer at halftime to stop trying to force big plays.

"It'll be the system that's in place and it'll have more of my stamp on it", Kelly said. "But we've got some kids who care about it and we'll work on it to get better". Brown, a 74-yard punt return by Brisly Estime that set up a late Syracuse touchdown, and four defensive offsides flags against the Irish (though they all weren't accepted).

After accounting for six touchdowns in an overtime loss to Texas to open the 2016 season, Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer was the darling of the National Football League draft universe. The most plays run in the Brian Kelly era at Notre Dame were 104 against Pittsburgh in 2012-and that tied the Irish single-game record (also against Iowa in 1968). The Irish allowed seven second-half points and did a solid job of tackling after the catch when Syracuse used quick, short passes.

Notre Dame, on the other hand, found the end zone twice more that frame.

Intangibles: Syracuse. The Orange will see a lot of Notre Dame fans in the crowd, of course, but this is an opportunity for Babers to make a statement in just his first year. "But they have to feel that from me as well", he said. "We had to figure out our identity again".

"I think I've got to be more fiery on the sidelines, quite frankly", he said.

Items: Notre Dame scored five touchdowns of 54 yards or longer.

The first five minutes produced five touchdowns, one for each possession. The Fighting Irish just fired its defensive coordinator after a poor start to the season, including losses to Duke, Texas and Michigan State.

Location: East Rutherford, N.J.

"I wasn't insane about going against this offense". I'm part of the solution.' And I want guys to feel like they're part of the solution here.

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