College Football Week 5 Odds, Picks: Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Syracuse Orange

Tarean Folston is No. 3 in ND rushing yards with 149 through four weeks.
Tarean Folston is No. 3 in ND rushing yards with 149 through four weeks.

Notre Dame-Syracuse
Spread: ND -10.5
Total: 73

Betting odds c/o 5dimes

It was been a rough start for the 1-3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Week 1, 3, and 4 all brought losses to Texas, Michigan State and Duke, respectively. Week 2 was the lone 39-10 win against Nevada. Week 5 brings something less of a challenge in Syracuse, and the visiting Irish are 10.5 point favorites according to college football oddsmakers at 5dimes, who also set the over/under at a relatively high ’73’ points.

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Last week was a disappointment for the Irish, losing on a game-winning field goal by AJ Reed of Duke with just 84 seconds to go and the go-ahead three-point lead. QB DeShone Kizer had a huge day, throwing 22 of 37 for 381 yards and two TDs. He did throw an interception. But Notre Dame had no trouble moving the football, also gaining 153 rushing yards (on 37 attempts, 4.1 yards per carry).

Wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown had a huge game with six catches for 116 yards and a TD. Torii Hunter Jr, Kevin Stephenson and CJ Sanders had another combined 208 yards on 12 combined catches. Eight Irish caught at least one pass in the game.

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On the ground, Kizer rushed for a team-tying lead 60 yards on 11 carries with a TD and Josh Adams had 60 had son 14 carries with another TD. Dexter Williams scored the other rushing TD for the Irish. He had 24 yards on five carries. The Irish were effective via the pass and rush, and that bodes well for them.

What does not bode as well is the paltry effort of the defense, which allowed 28 points just in the first half. Duke especially crushed the Irish in the run, with Jela Duncan rushing for 121 yards and basically having his way on 21 carries with a 5.8 yard per attempt average.

Anthony Nash of Duke also wreaked havoc on the pass routes with 123 yards on six catches and two TDs. Little of the blame can fall on junior LB Nyles Morgan, who had 10 tackles (seven solo), a sack, and one tackle for loss. Outside of him, however, there were just two tackles for loss, and no one else had a sack. Donte Vaughn had ND’s interception.

The special teams were effective, particular Sanders and Chris Finke on the kick returns. Both returned three kicks and Sanders had a 21.7 yard average with Finke tallying 17.7 per. Sanders also returned one punt for 12 yards. Punter Tyler Newsome had a decent outing, too, with four punts for 47 yards on average and a long of 58-yards. Duke’s Ryan Smith returned two of those punts for 11 yards on average.

So, Notre Dame was strong on offense and special teams, but it was defense which spelled its Week 4 loss to the Blue Devils. Kizer has had a big season in the pocket with 72 of 116 going for 1,096 yards and a 9.45 yards per attempt average. He has 11 TDs on the year with three INTs, and his passer rating is a stellar 167.6. The 6’4” junior from Toledo, Ohio had a strong 2015 when he threw for 2,884 yards on a 63 percent completion ratio.

This season his QBR is 5.1 points higher at 84.2 and he is hoping to cut down on the sacks. Last year he was sacked 23 times and he is already at six this season. That projects to be about the same as last season. He has improved, however, in nearly every other facet considering his 2.1 TD-to-INT ratio last season and the fact he averaged nearly a yard less per pass attempt.


Syracuse is 2-2 and won 31-24 over Connecticut last week. The Orange used a late 99-yard drive to seal it up in the fourth quarter. Eric Dungey had 407 passing yards on 26 of 40 passing with two TDs. His major target was Amba Etta-Tawo, who had an astounding 270 receiving yards on 12 catches with a pair of TDs.

Ervin Philips and Steve Ishmael contributed another 95 yards combined on 10 more catches. The Orange caught 26 total passes with Etta-Tawo accounting for about 45 percent of that. He is the focal point of the Orange’s offense. Syracuse did not get a ton from its backfield, with Donate Strickland rushing 51 of the 62 yards gained on 14 carries. Dungey, however, did rush for a TD on one of his seven carries.

Dungey is a 6’3” sophomore who attended high school in Oregon, and he has improved this season from a mediocre 2015. Last year he threw for 1,298 yards on 59.7 percent passing with 11 TDs and five INTs. That 2.05 TD-to-INT ratio has improved to 3.00, but he has been sacked eight times this season. His completion ratio has leaped to 65.4 percent and he was 34 of 40 in the 33-7 victory over Colgate in Week 1. The past two weeks he has thrown a total of 58 of 88 while posting a passer rating of 133 and 167, respectively.

Dungey is dealing with an unspecified injury and it is unclear what his status is for this game. The Irish will be without DB Shaun Crawford and CB Nick Watkins the remainder of the season. Watkins suffered an arm injury and Crawford had an Achilles’ injury.

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