The Fighting Irish are coming off their best game of the 2019 season. November has given way to a resurgent Fighting Irish Offense, led by quarterback Ian Book. Notre Dame’s long-time rival, the Boston College Eagles, is one of two remaining teams between the Irish and a potential New Year’s Six Bowl Game. Can the Irish continue their momentum in this 25th edition of the Holy War? We’ll find out on Saturday.
Essential Game Info:
- Game Time: November 23rd at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC / NBCSN (simultaneously being broadcast with Notre Dame announcers)
- Location: Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Indiana
- Matchup History: The Irish are 14-9 all-time against the Eagles (Last Meeting 2017: Notre Dame won 49-20)
- Current Odds: Notre Dame -19.0
The current forecast for GameDay shows a 20% chance of rain with a high of 41 degrees and a low of 29.
Boston College Details:
- Conference: ACC (Atlantic Division)
- Head Coach: Steve Addazio
- 2019 Record: 5-5 (3-4)
- 2018 Record: 7-5
Boston College Storylines
Battle for the Frank Leahy Memorial Bowl. The Eagles dominated this rivalry at the turn of the century. Boston College won 6 straight meetings against the Irish from 2001 to 2008. Since Notre Dame has been on a 6-game winning streak in this historical rivalry. If Steve Addazio and the Eagles want to end the skid, they will have to beat the Irish at Notre Dame Stadium.
Key Boston College Players. Starting quarterback, Anthony Brown, is out with a season-ending injury. Since Brown’s injury, backup quarterback Dennis Grosel has played reasonably. Grosel is 49 for 99 (49.5%) with 8 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. On the ground, he has 25 attempts for 107 yards (4.3 yards per carry) and 1 touchdown.
AJ Dillon is dominating in the backfield. Through 10 games, the Boston College running back has 272 attempts for 1,451 yards (5.3 yards per carry) and 13 touchdowns. Dillon has 37 total touchdowns in his collegiate career.
The main targets for the Eagles are Kobay White, Zay Flowers, and tight end Hunter Long. White has 22 receptions for 363 yards (16.5 yards per catch) with 5 touchdowns. Flowers has tallied 19 catches for 312 yards and 3 touchdowns while Hunter Long has 21 receptions for 411 yards (19.6 yards per catch) with one score.
Notre Dame Storylines
Best game of Ian Book’s career? Since the game-winning drive against the Virginia Tech Hokies, this Notre Dame Offense has been rolling. Last weekend, Book went 14 for 20 through the air with 5 touchdowns, and he didn’t play most of the second half. On the ground, he tallied 31 rushing yards, which led the Irish on the day.
Chip Long’s Offense has taken off down the stretch. Ian Book has become the quarterback that fans expected to see all season. Notre Dame has finally started to use more of their deep threats via Chase Claypool and Braden Lenzy. If the Irish can continue this path the rest of the year, Ian Book will be one of the top quarterbacks in all of college football heading into 2020.
Irish seeking New Year’s Six Bowl. Notre Dame was sitting at #16 in the College Football Playoffs when they faced Navy. There are two weeks left in the regular season, plus conference championships. If the Irish can win and possibly dominate these next few matchups, they should finish in the top 10 for the College Football Playoffs.
Understandably, Notre Dame fans want to see the Irish win a marquee matchup this fall. But they will not have the opportunity with only Boston College and Stanford remaining on the schedule. Now, a win at Stanford would be huge, since Notre Dame hasn’t won there since 2007. The next opportunity Brian Kelly and the Irish will have to get a defining win will be their bowl matchup.
Senior Day in South Bend. The Notre Dame Seniors will be playing their final game at Notre Dame Stadium this Saturday afternoon. Like every college football season, it feels as only yesterday that the Irish were facing Louisville on Labor Day Night to finish off the first weekend of the season.
If the Irish can take care of business these next two weeks, they will be on their way to 3 straight 10-win seasons.
Head to Head Matchups
Notre Dame Offense vs. Boston College Defense: The Boston College Defense is giving up 31.4 points per game this season. Against Clemson, the Eagles surrendered 59 points on the road. Conversely, the Irish Offense has been on fire these past few weeks. Expect the Eagles Defense to lock in on Chase Claypool this weekend, as he has been torching defenses.
The advantage in this category is with Ian Book and the resurging Irish Offense.
Advantage: Notre Dame
Boston College Offense vs. Notre Dame Defense: The Eagles are without their starting quarterback, Anthony Brown. But Dennis Grosel has stepped in and had respectable production with the offense.
The Irish Defense will have to transition back from the triple-option last weekend, but they will be up for the task. Even with multiple injuries on the Notre Dame Defense, they are continuing to dominate. I give the advantage to Clark Lea’s Defense.
Advantage: Notre Dame
Special Teams: Aaron Boumerhi headlines the Boston College kicking game. On the season, he is 8 for 13 with a long of 45 yards. Conversely, Jonathan Doerer is 8 for 10 this year with a long of 52 yards on the season for the Irish.
Chris Finke is starting to make more of an impact in the punt-return game. He returned a punt for a touchdown last week, but it was negated for holding.
There is no distinct advantage in this department.
The game-winning drive against Virginia Tech appears to be just what Ian Book and the Irish Offense needed. Since that drive, the entire Notre Dame Football team has dominated their opponents.
Brian Kelly and the Irish have major bowl aspirations with two remaining “rivals” in front of them. No, the Irish won’t be making the playoffs this season, and that is the goal every season. But, if Notre Dame can finish the season off 10-2 with wins over three straight rivals, it will be a great bounce back. Who knows, the Irish may get to face a top-tier opponent in the bowl game.
These past few weeks, I have been pessimistic when picking the Irish to win. However, after the performances these past three weeks, I believe Notre Dame will continue their dominance this week.
Prediction: Notre Dame 49 Boston College 17