The Irish will travel to historic Fenway Park to battle rival Boston College in the annual Shamrock Series game. Boston College have one of the best defenses in the country, ranking first in yards per play but also have one of the least potent offenses. The Irish have a chance to make a statement in a primetime game with Stanford coming up the following week in a hugely important clash. The Eagles will rise to the occasion versus Notre Dame so the Irish must be ready for a physical game that could be low-scoring. The following are the matchups the Irish must control to keep their playoff hopes alive:
Jaylon Smith versus Tyler Rouse
Jaylon Smith will likely put together an extensive highlight-reel versus Tyler Rouse and the atrocious Eagles offense. Rouse has a team-high 307 rush yards and five touchdowns in 10 games while averaging only 4.4 yards per carry. Rouse isn’t a game-breaker so Smith simply needs to take care of his assignment and shoot through holes and he will routinely stuff Rouse and the Eagles rushing attack.
Cole Luke versus Thadd Smith
The only thing worse than the Eagles rushing offense is their passing offense. The best weapon they have at receiver is Thadd Smith who has recorded a team-high 216 receiving yards and two touchdowns on 13 receptions, which is good for second on the team. Irish corner Cole Luke will be more than up for the challenge of shutting Smith down and anything short of keeping him out of the end-zone would be a failure.
DeShone Kizer versus Steven Daniels
Irish quarterback DeShone Kizer will face one of the toughest defenses he has seen all year and its leader is Steven Daniels. Daniels is an excellent linebacker leading the Eagles in tackles with 70 and tackles for loss with 15, to go along with six sacks and an interception. The Eagles will likely try to eliminate C.J. Prosise from the game and limit big plays so Kizer’s job will be to make the right decisions with the football and avoid mistakes that could give the Boston College offense short-field opportunities.
Will Fuller versus Justin Simmons
In a battle that will be critical to the outcome of the game Will Fuller will face off with safety Justin Simmons. Simmons is the best defensive back on the Eagles roster and is a ball-hawk with three interceptions on the season. Fuller will be looking to beat Simmons deep downfield all night and if he is successful on a couple occasions that in itself could be enough for an Irish victory.