If ever there were a trap game on Syracuse's football schedule this season, it was Friday night. A home game on senior night against a dreadful Louisville team with third ranked Notre Dame waiting next weekend in the unique environment of Yankee Stadium.

And yet, despite that, the Orange left little doubt they were focused solely on the Cardinals. A 54-23 rout was highlighted by 326 rushing yards for Syracuse as a team and a defense that forced four turnovers. There is perhaps the biggest key going into the monster matchup with Notre Dame: defense.

Syracuse has proven it has an offense explosive and versatile enough to hang with most teams not named Alabama. The Orange scored 23 points in basically three quarters at second ranked Clemson before the Tigers came back to win. They've scored at least 50 points in five different games and rank seventh in the country in points per game at 44.4.

The defense, however, is allowing four touchdowns worth of points every game and Notre Dame's offense has evolved to a dangerous level since turning the huddle over to Ian Book. The Fighting Irish defense, meanwhile, holds its opponents to fewer than 20 points per game.

The midday meeting in the Bronx is shaping up to be a shootout and for as great a season as this is for Syracuse, Notre Dame, quite frankly, has a world more to lose. If the Irish win out, it's difficult to envision a scenario in which they miss out of the College Football Playoff. Syracuse has already doubled its win total from last year and the year before that (both 4 win campaigns) and a notable bowl game awaits them.

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