Dylan Donahue, Kevin Rice spearhead Syracuse victory over No. 1 Notre Dame
The gray of MetLife Stadium had an orange tint Saturday night.
Syracuse, wearing bright orange helmets and shorts to the delight of a crowd that among its 19,875 featured thousands festooned in orange regalia, broke a 4-4 tie with six straight fourth-quarter goals in a dominant 10-4 victory over No. 1 Notre Dame in the nightcap of the Big City Classic men's lacrosse doubleheader.
The Fighting Irish (10-3) will fall from the top spot, as four other teams have in this topsy-turvy season, and the No. 7 Orange will move up several spots.
That's because Dylan Donahue scored three straight goals in the fourth quarter and added an assist, and Kevin Rice had a goal and three assists as Syracuse clinched a share of the Big East title. The conference tournament will be next weekend at Villanova.
"That was a poor performance by our team. We were bad all night long," Notre Dame coach Kevin Corrigan said. "I don't have any answers or I would've stopped it."
The Fighting Irish, which led 3-1 at halftime, could not stop Syracuse in the second half and especially not in the fourth quarter.
"It was a mind-set change at halftime," Rice said. "We talked about being more aggressive and going more toward goal. They play a really different brand of defense. There's man to man but there's zone principles and it's tough. We were able to keep grinding."
Rice began the deluge on a sharp-angle shot for a man-up goal off a feed from Matt Walter to snap a 4-4 tie. Then Donahue took over. He scored from the wing on a feed from Luke Cometti and went down the alley to quick-stick one home off a neat pass from Rice.
Rice connected with Donahue again on a pass across the crease to make it 8-4 with 4:43 left. The way Notre Dame was turning the ball over and allowing Syracuse to control time of possession, a rally was unlikely.
The Orange finished off the impressive 6-0 run on goals by Hakeem Lecky and Scott Loy.
"Our defense got tired of playing defense all night," Corrigan said of the fourth-quarter collapse. "We lost our discipline there. The fourth quarter was a manifestation of four quarters of bad lacrosse by us."
For the 'Cuse, there was a nice finishing touch, too. Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown, an All-American in football and lacrosse for the Orange nearly 60 years ago, showed up in the locker room after the game.