EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Notre Dame will count this as progress after a week of upheaval and adjustments for a beleaguered defense. They might have been only leprechaun-sized steps forward, but the Fighting Irish will take it.Notre Dame tightened up its tackling and held Syracuse to seven points in the second half, and DeShone Kizer made up for most of the Irishs ills with one of the best passing games in school history.Kizer threw for a career-best 471 yards and the Fighting Irish snapped a two-game losing streak by defeating Syracuse 50-33 Saturday.In the first game since coach Brian Kelly fired coordinator Brian VanGorder, the Irish (2-3) allowed more than 30 points for the fourth time this season and 489 yards to Syracuses up-tempo spread offense.I wasnt crazy about going against this offense. I much rather have been going against something a little bit different because of their tempo and how they spread you out and with all the freshman DBs that (we) play. Thats not always the greatest matchup, Kelly said. But I felt like the morale was really good on Wednesday and thats what I was looking to get back. The morale.The tackling on punt coverage still needs work. Syracuses Brisly Estime had a 74-yard return late in the first half that setup a touchdown and left Kelly fuming on the sideline. Estime added a 38-yard return.Kizer made it all OK for Notre Dame at MetLife Stadium.He connected on three touchdown passes -- two to Equanimeous St. Brown -- that covered at least 54 yards each and ran for a score. Kizer hit a rough patch at end of the first half when he took a 17-yard sack that knocked the Irish out of field goal range and threw an interception.Kelly said he told Kizer at halftime to stop trying to force big plays.When we went back out, relaxed up, took his words and ran with it, said Kizer, who threw for more yards in a victory than any quarterback in Notre Dame history.Eric Dungey passed for 363 yards and two touchdowns and ran for three scores for Syracuse (2-3).THE TAKEAWAYSyracuse: 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.That is a very, very young defense, first-year Syracuse coach Dino Babers said. You have to give them time to grow up.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 kept his pledge to play more defensive players and make tweaks. The Irish mixed in some 3-4 alignments and their defensive backs changed techniques to better guard deep routes. Cornerback Luke Cole was moved to nickelback, lining up inside instead of out.There is still work to be done. The secondary, at times playing four freshmen, was porous and the front got little pressure. Positives: The Orange ran for only 3.4 yards per carry and the Irish did a solid job of tackling after the catch. Syracuse had 266 yards in the last three quarters.We need to continue to improve on tackling, defensive lineman Isaac Rochell said. I would say we did better, but we still left a lot out there.ONE FOR THE NEW GUYThe players picked Hudson to lead the singing of the alma mater after the win. They did it acapella since the band didnt make the trip.He put a lot of power in the position coaches hands and he put a lot of power in our hands as player and said, `Lets just come together as a family, safety Drue Tranquill said.TOUCHDOWN PER MINUTEThe first five minutes produced five touchdowns, one for each possession. Plus, Notre Dame had its second blocked PAT returned for a 2-point defensive conversion this season. The Irish did it against Texas, too. Jarron Jones got the block again and this time Cole picked up the bouncing ball and scored.Add it all up and it was 23-13 Irish with 10:06 left in the first quarter.They have a dynamic offense and when they come out its a big splash, Babers said.UP NEXTNotre Dame: The Fighting Irish make their first trip to North Carolina State.Syracuse: The Orange play at Wake Forest.---Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP---AP college football coverage at www.collegefootball.ap.org http://www.bengalsrookiestore.com/Bengals-Brandon-Lafell-Jersey/ . Pence singled in the winning run with no outs in the ninth inning to give the Giants a 7-6 victory over the San Diego Padres on Sunday. http://www.bengalsrookiestore.com/Bengals-Aj-Mccarron-Jersey/ . 10 Texas Rangers jersey for one last time. Young formally announced his retirement Friday after returning to Rangers Ballpark, his baseball home for all but the last of his 13 major league seasons. http://www.bengalsrookiestore.com/Bengals-Kevin-Minter-Jersey/ . I cant pinpoint a date, but I do remember a player from my youth. Brian Downing was with the Chicago White Sox at a time when I listened to every game I possibly could on the radio. That particular season the late great Harry Caray was calling the White Sox games. http://www.bengalsrookiestore.com/Bengals-Alex-Erickson-Jersey/ .C. -- Chris Thorburn thinks one of the reasons the Winnipeg Jets have been successful under new coach Paul Maurice is that theyre playing together as a team. http://www.bengalsrookiestore.com/Bengals-Boomer-Esiason-Jersey/ . The players spoke Jan. 13 during a Major League Baseball Players Association conference call after Rodriguez sued the union and Major League Baseball to overturn an arbitrators decision suspending him for the 2014 season and post-season. Former St Kilda and North Melbourne star Nick Dal Santo has officially brought his decorated AFL career to a close.Dal Santo was part of the shock Kangaroos cull that also saw Brent Harvey, Drew Petrie and Michael Firrito depart Arden Street at the end of the season.The 32-year-old had been hoping to find a new club as a delisted free agent, but instead retired on Tuesday after 322 AFL games.After 15 years of highs and lows, I can now say that this chapter of my life is behind me, Dal Santo said via Instagram on Tuesday.With mixed emotions and lots of processing, Im excited about whats ahead.Combinations of media, coaching and corporate are the areas Ill focus on going forward.I have learnt so much from my time in the game and those who Ive enccountered on the way, which has put me in a great position to prepare for whats ahead.ddddddddddddId like to sincerely thank St. Kilda and North Melbourne, along with all the dedicated supporters, for allowing me to play the game I love for 15 years.Dal Santo was the 13th player selected at the 2001 draft that became known as the super draft after it produced stars like Luke Hodge, Luke Ball and Chris Judd.He played in all three of the Saints grand final teams, came second in the 2011 Brownlow Medal count and was an All Australian three times before he crossed to North as a free agent at the end of the 2013 season. 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