Kizer covers for shaky D as Notre Dame beats Syracuse 50-33

Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer throws a touchdown pass to wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown, not pictured, during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Syracuse, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) DeShone Kizer threw for a career-best 465 yards to help Notre Dame overcome another shaky performance by its defense and special teams and beat Syracuse 50-33 Saturday.

The Irish snapped a two-game losing streak, but did not show much defensive improvement in the first game since Fighting Irish coach Brian Kelly fired coordinator Brian VanGorder. The Irish (2-3) allowed more than 30 points for the fourth time this season.

The tackling on punt coverage might have been even more concerning. Syracuse's Brisly Estime had a 74-yard return late in the first half that setup a touchdown for the Orange and left Kelly fuming on the sideline.

Kizer and the offense made it all OK. He connected on three touchdown passes – two to Equanimeous St. Brown – that covered at least 54 yards each and ran for a score. Dexter Williams reversed field on a 59-yard touchdown run that made it 47-27 midway through the third quarter.

Eric Dungey passed for 325 yards and two touchdowns and ran for three scores for Syracuse (2-3).


Syracuse: The Orange defense has already been shredded by Lamar Jackson and Louisville and now Kizer and Notre Dame. An in-season fix seems unlikely. The middle of the field always seems to be open against the Orange secondary. FYI: Clemson and Deshaun Watson play the Orange on Nov. 5.

Notre Dame: Kelly elevated Greg Hudson from analyst to coordinator and got more involved in the defense this week. Kelly pledged to play more players and make a few tweaks, and the players said they would play with a renewed passion. There is still a long way to go. The Irish secondary still struggled to stop deep passes and the front got little pressure on the quarterback. Positives: The Orange ran for only 117 yards. The Irish allowed seven second-half points and did a decent job of tackling after the catch when Syracuse used quick, short passes.


Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish make their first trip to North Carolina State.

Syracuse: The Orange play at Wake Forest.

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