Notre Dame looks to get back in the W column this week with a trip to Boston to take on the Eagles of Boston College in the Holy War. Get ready for the game with our weekly primer.
What you Need to Know:
- Game Time: September 16th at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
- Location: Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
- Matchup: Notre Dame leads the all-time series 14-9 (Last Meeting 2015 at Fenway Park); Battle for the Frank Leahy Memorial Trophy
- Odds: Notre Dame -13.5
- Game Day Weather: The current forecast calls for a partly cloudy day with high of 73 degrees and a 20% chance of rain during the day.
- Weekend Events: The Notre Dame Club of Boston will be holding a Pep Rally from 6:00- 9:30 p.m. on Friday, September 15th. This Pep Rally will take place at The Greatest Bar located at 262 Friend St, Boston, MA 02114. For more information on weekend events visit http://boston.undclub.org/s/1210/clubs-classes/2col-grid7-nolnav.aspx?gid=367&pgid=61
Game Day Weather[wunderground location=”Chestnut Hill, MA” numdays=”5″ layout=”table-horizontal”]
Boston College Details:
- Conference: ACC
- Head Coach: Steve Addazio
- 2017 Record: 1-1
- 2016 Record: 7-6
Boston College Storylines:
Can Boston College secure the football? Last week against Wake Forest, the Eagles had 4 turnovers. Their starting quarterback, Anthony Brown, accounted for 3 of the turnovers via interceptions. Running Back Jon Hilliman added a fumble for the 4th. The Irish Defense last weekend was able to force 2 turnovers against Georgia. Look for the Irish to be on the hunt for more turnovers this week.
The Eagles have a quarterback controversy heading into week 2. Their starter went only 11 of 29 for 119 yards, with 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions. While the backup Darius Wade was 7 of 12 with no interceptions. Both of these quarterbacks are dual threats, which will add another factor for the Irish Defense to account for in this matchup. I wouldn’t be surprised to see both quarterbacks under center again this weekend.
Boston College will look to duplicate the Georgia Defense by stopping the running game. I believe the Eagles will look to stack the box and force Wimbush to beat them. Although they do not have the front 7 that Georgia does, they will attempt to force Wimbush to beat them with his arm.
The Irish will need to bounce back from a poor performance against the Georgia Defense. Although the Eagles gave up 34 points against Wake Forest last week, they held the Demon Deacons to 309 total yards with the 4 turnovers on offens eputting the Eagle Defense in poor position.
Notre Dame Storylines:
How will the Notre Dame Offensive Line respond after getting man-handled by the Georgia Defense? Perhaps Georgia has one of the top 5 defenses in the entire country, but it’s too soon to tell. Regardless, the Notre Dame Offensive Line needs to get at least 200 yards on the ground this weekend against Boston College. The Wake Forest Demon Deacons had 158 rushing yards this past weekend against the Eagles. Wimbush has struggled passing the ball the first two games, the offensive line needs to take the burden off him and open up some holes.
Can Brandon Wimbush complete over 60% of his passes? Last weekend Wimbush completed just 49% of his attempts. The week before, against Temple, he completed 57% of his throws. Sure Temple was his first game, and yes it was an SEC defense in Week 2. But what will the storyline be if Wimbush has a bad passing game against Boston College, it was his first road game?
Yes, these were his first two starts of his career, however the excuses have to end somewhere. I’m not saying he needs to be the next Deshaun Watson, but the Irish will not win 9/10 games unless Wimbush shows some significant improvements.
Which receiver will step up? Notre Dame has an elite receiver in Equanimeous St. Brown, but who else behind him? The Irish definitely have a lot of talented, big time recruits out of high school who haven’t had much production this year. Will Stepherson ever be back?
I believe Stepherson is the next Fuller and can score a long touchdown just about every game. Until he gets back, receivers/tight ends like Alize Mack, Chris Finke, Chase Claypool, Cam Smith, and Freddy Canteen need to step up. It’s clear that when Notre Dame faces a big time opponent, they can’t rely solely on the run game.
Head to Head Matchups:
Notre Dame Offense vs. Boston College Defense: Advantage Notre Dame- The Notre Dame Offense needs to bounce back this week against the Eagles. I don’t expect the Eagles to be as good as the Georgia Bulldogs, nor do I expect them to be as bad as the Temple Owls. Notre Dame needs to establish the running attack early in this game. The Irish have the better athletes and they need to play aggressive and start to develop Wimbush. Notre Dame should get in the end zone much more this week.
Boston College Offense vs. Notre Dame Defense: Advantage Notre Dame- I’m officially on the Mike Elko bandwagon. If he wasn’t brought in this year I truly believe that Georgia would have beaten the Irish by double digits. He is the real deal. The defense had two sacks last week and made a lot of great open field tackles against some NFL running backs. Drue Tranquill is finally playing up to his potential. Boston College has struggled with turnovers and poor quarterback play, I think the Irish will dominate again this week.
Special Teams: Tie – Justin Yoon kept the Irish in the game last week and bounced back going 4 for 4. His counterpart this weekend is Colton Lichtenberg who is 4 for 4 on the season. Any game can come down to field position battle and the Irish had a great punting performance from Tyler Newsome last week who averaged 47 yards on punts.
Boston College’s punter, Connor Strachan, averaged 43 yards per punt. Looking over Boston College’s kick returns and punt returns they seem to have comparable stats to the Notre Dame Returners. I don’t see enough of a separation to give the advantage to either team.
Brian Kelly just lost yet another primetime, 1 possession game at Notre Dame. This week he needs a bounce back win before he has a chance to redeem himself in two weeks at Michigan State. Notre Dame will face its first road test of the year at Boston College. I believe the Irish will take care of business on the road, although I don’t expect a blowout.
My Prediction: Notre Dame 30 Boston College 17