Beyond the Boxscore: Notre Dame Beats Up on Boston College

Shaking off some early doldrums, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish picked up their fourth win in a row and improved their season record to 9-2 with a 40-7 thrashing of the Boston College Eagles. The victory came in the home finale and increased the home winning streak of Brian Kelly’s squad to 18 games heading into 2020.

The Irish entered the game as three-touchdown favorites, yet struggled for much of the first half to take control of the game. However, once they returned to the field following intermission, Notre Dame played like the better team, scoring all 23 points in the final two quarters, while narrowly missing a touchdown in the closing minutes.

Second Half Shutdown

The Notre Dame defense offered a mixed bag during the first half, giving up just 16 yards in the opening quarter before starting the second period by allowing a 16-play, 84-yard drive that gave Boston College their only lead at 7-6. When action resumed following halftime, the defensive clamps went in place, and the Eagles gained just 64 more yards for the remainder of the contest.

The level of dominance was evident by the fact that only one of BC’s nine second-half drives gained more than 11 yards, with the one that did managing just 18. The turnovers mentioned above helped short-circuit two of those Eagle drives, while the 191 yards marked the second time in three weeks that the Irish have held a team under 200 yards of total offense after the 197 that Duke managed.

Exploiting Mistakes

Throughout the game, Notre Dame remained error-free, with Boston College matching them during the first two quarters. In the latter case, that changed during the last two periods, with both a fumble and interception leading to 14 points for the Irish and boosting their turnover total to 24 on the season.

The first of these opportunities came when Eagles quarterback Dennis Grosel fumbled at the BC 40, and Drew White recovered. Six plays later, the Irish scored on a Book to Cole Kmet scoring toss. Early in the fourth quarter, Kyle Hamilton picked off a Grosel pass and returned it 27 yards to the Eagles 12-yard-line. A Book to Chris Finke pass quickly completed a three-play drive and end the scoring.

Running Questions

Book again led the Notre Dame rushing attack with 66 yards, with no other Irish back seemingly ready to take control. Still, the Irish finished with 252 yards on the ground for the afternoon, with both Tony Jones Jr. and Braden Lenzy each supplementing the running game by collecting 61 yards each.

Jones needed 15 carries to contribute that amount, while Lenzy took care of his number in one carry that immediately followed a Boston College punt in the third quarter. Reserve signal-caller Phil Jurovec added 42 more yards in garbage time, though four other runners managed to tack on the final 22 yards to that game total.

Ferocious Rush

One of the chief reasons that Notre Dame was able to shut down the Boston College offense was connected to the Irish defense’s ability to get past the front wall of the Eagles. When the final seconds ticked off, Notre Dame had managed to collect four sacks, nine tackles-for-loss and five hurries.

When it came to stops behind the line, seven different Irish players managed to pick up at least one. However, it was senior lineman Adetokunbo Ogundeji who was the standout with three tackles-for-loss, with two of them coming on sacks. In addition, he managed to force the one BC fumble.

O-Line Issues

The Notre Dame offensive line has been dealing with injuries for the past month, which has led to a patchwork approach to protecting Book and opening holes for runners. It’s clear that something is lacking, given the fact six of the eight Irish penalties for the day were false starts.

There were three false starts in each half, with the second half trio coming long after the game had been decided. Yet two of those came on back-to-back plays, while the first helped stall a thriving opening drive and turn a potential touchdown into a field goal.

Next Up

Next Saturday, Notre Dame closes out the regular season with another trip to Stanford to face a demoralized Cardinal team that watched their last hope of a bowl berth die in a 24-20 loss to arch-rival California. The defeat dropped them to 4-7 on the year and ended their 10-year streak of competing in a bowl game.

The game marks the 23rd consecutive year that the two teams have met, with the Irish winless at Palo Alto under Kelly’s leadership at Notre Dame. The last Notre Dame victory there took place in 2007.

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16 Comments

  1. I thought after we actually competed with GA at their home field that ND and Kelly might actually be on the right track to be with the elite programs even though we still lost. We had a chance on the last drive which when you play an elite team like GA, that feels like we can compete with anyone. Then we go into Michigan with playoffs on the line and after a bye week and get our asses kicked in prime time with everyone watching which could be said was an even bigger game for us at that particular time than the GA game considering we were still right there in the mix. GA and MI, our only real challenges on the schedule, and we lose both, with MI being the biggest embarrassment of the Kelly era considering the implications of the loss and season aspirations.

    I used to be a Kelly backer all the way up til last year but have quickly changed my mind with him never really winning a big game against a top tier opponent. Is OK in 2012 his biggest win? Didn’t they end up I ranked at the end of that season? Kelly and the Irish have lost its last 11 road games against opponents that are ranked in the top 20. Holy F!!! The guy is too stupid to even start his best players in Hamilton and Jurkovec. He didn’t play Dexter Williams all those years even when eligible and healthy because he couldn’t “pass block” LOL! Whatever man. I’m fed up with him. I’m just being real. ND and Book barely beating VT, beating up on mighty Duke, Navy, and BC late (the 3rd worst defense in college football) isn’t going to change my mind and make me feel we are trending up. I’m glad we won but I don’t see the progression guys.

    Beat Clemson next year and maybe I’ll change my mind.

  2. C’mon, Camping World Bowl!
    Brian Kelly has been blatantly campaigning for it for 3 games now, wearing that chic ‘sleeping bag coat’.

  3. A primer for aspiring Brian Kelly kneecappers:(or Never Kellyers)
    )
    (1) Predict pending doom, go into hiding when success shows up, rather than doom.

    (2) If a unit succeeds, credit the assistant NEVER KELLY
    (3) If a unit fails, blame Kelly, the assistant he hires, Kelly’s sloppy recruiting

    (4) If we beat a team, “well, they aren’t that good.”
    (5) If we lose to a team, “well, they aren’t that good.”

    (6) Parade STRAW MEN who would be better thaN kELLY
    d’ANTONIO
    Pat Fitzgerald
    George (0-12) O’leary

    (7) Ignore statistics (this has synergy with #1) LEt me explain
    The sharpest minds use Yards per Point as a measure of offensive/Defensive Effectiveness

    Para ejemplo

    One of ND’s units is ranked 13th in Yards per point, the other 16th
    One of ND’s units has a lower YPP game variance at t home versus the road
    One of ND’s units has a higher YPP improvement vis a vis ’18 than the other

    The higher ranked, more consistent, more improved unit is the Notre Dame offense.

    But to credit that unit one would have to dis Lea and applaud the uptick for Long’s offense
    (which has guilt by association with Kelly)

    These are all Inconvenient truths for the NEVERKELLY Koolaid drinkers. They may need to get hold of Guccifer
    for a few pointers on disinformation.

    But it gets worse.

    And this INCONVENIENT TRUTH sends NEVERKELLYERS into a Black Rage

    In years 8-10, Lou HOltz’i Irish were 26-9-1
    In years 8-10, Brian kelly’s Irish are 30-6

    Holtz was declining
    Kelly is improving

    AND TRUTH must be avoided, because if it is fact based, then those facts gut the NeverKellyers like ‘
    a fish knife.

    Let your nay be nay, let your yay be yay.

    Go Irish!

    1. My big concern going into next season is that Notredame continues to struggle consistently running the ball. You can not win the the big games against elite defenses if you can’t have success running the ball.The last 3 or 4 games Book has been the leading rusher and Lenzy has hit big on the jet sweeps.I know these all count but your running backs have to have big yards on the ground to win. I m not sure what the problem is coaching or talent or blocking schemes. imo we wont be a national contender until this problem is solved. Solutions new personal new oline coach changing scheme structure blocking techniques principals combination of all these things.

      1. Pete, At the risk of making the same mistake twice, I’m predicting a lot of gains by the O-linemen, who will be joined by that good recruiting class of two years ago. I understand that I said that for this year, and have been shown to be wrong. But even if between Balis, their coaches, and Ian Book, they just master the art of clean starts, they will improve markedly.

        BGC ’77 ’82

      2. So Pete, I’m listening. Here’s my self-assigned project: I’m going to look at the CFP games and provide you (and BRuce and the others)
        three layers of fact/analysis/conjectural BS?

        This will take more than a minute, and I’m not sure where i will hang the posts, but you will get them. And then we can
        have a rational discussion
        or, for that matter, comtemplating a typical family Thanksgiving, irrational discussion..

        Facts are facts
        Observation is observation’
        reasonable inferences are reasonable inferences.

        I’m only scared by one thing: I might learn something in the process! Gadzooks!.

    2. Very well stated Duranko…my thoughts exactly (and a large part of the non-posting fans, too). And any trend line you would want to draw is up, up, up from 2016!

    3. Its hard to argue with the success Kelly has had the last three years. Its mostly what you would expect they are beating the teams they should beat. That is a big improvement from years 1-7. Where is the improvement in beating the top tier teams? I haven’t seen any significant wins against top tier teams. As a matter of fact they seem to be poorly prepared for those big games mostly on the offensive side of the ball.

      1. Well, it is arguable that Clemson had the nation’s best defense in ’18. If you don’t believe me ask Tua, Saban and Sarkisian.

        And it is pluperfectly clear to me that Georgia’s defense is the nation’s best in ’19. Ohio state has more higher draft choices in 2019
        , but as ever on the Olentangy anything Ohio State is overvalued by that vapid Mimbo hack, Kirk Herbstreit. Ohio state’s defensive
        coordinator is Gregg Mattison, solid. Georgia’s is de facto Kirby Smart, a breed apart. Only South Carolina, in a strange day in Athens
        was able to score more than ND’s 17, wuith 20. Ofeensive geniuses Malzahn (he is) and Mullen (pretty close)
        were not able to put up more points than the Irish.

        In Arlington, Long was ready, but Book was a year away. Notwithstanding that Clemson made a hot mess out of Tua, Ruggs,
        Waddle, Jeudy, Smith, Irv Smith and Jacobs and Najee Harris.

    4. Yeah so many guys on this site who are great coaches, who know what plays to run and decisions to make after the game!! They can throw the ball farther than BOOK, they post comments during the game crying when things go wrong! This team had 1 bad game in 2 years ( Michigan ) and the crying whiners on this site want the Coach fired! Rally around dopey davey guys, and keep those stupid posts commin! Don’t know how KELLY and this team have gone 31-6 the last 3 years without consulting this wack pack!!

      1. NDCRAZYMIKE: What they are best at is moving the goal posts. Wait until you hear the gibberish if we win a New Year’s Six Bowl this season!

        BGC ’77 ’82

      2. NDCM,

        What’s your suggestion on how this team and Brian Kelly can get better to compete with the elite programs in the country? I’m ready to here your suggestions instead of you just posting on here with your lame ass satisfaction of winning 10 games each year. Give us some real thoughts about how we can get better please because you seem to know everything too.

      3. IT’S already happening chris you have 2 five star players joining the offense next year TYREE is a top 3 rb and will bring ELITE speed and pass catching ability to the rb position we desperately need!! JORDAN JOHNSON A 5 STAR wr who will be a big star from day 1 watch his film! Having what you call a lameass 10 win season helps recruiting tremendously, ND is back to being a team the kids know now and know they can win there!! Winning 10 games a year isn’t easy doing it 3 years in a row is special and says something about your program, ask FLA. ST , USC , MICH. , !! Progress is being made the IRISH need these 2 five star guys on the SPORTSCENTER highlight reels, that will bring more RB’S and WR;;S to the team! I have questions about this teams O-LINE coach and the O-Coordinators approach ( don’t get a 2 TE set when u have NO running game ) I would have liked more PT for the young wideouts! I also would give up on ARMSTRONG as a RB, and move him back to the slot he can”t stay healthy or take the physicality needed to be a RB he’s out more than he’s in!! THE #1 priority this offseason is keeping CLAK LEA, teams WILL be coming for him!! I’VE coached and chris you say you coach, knowing all the coaches tape you watch and game planning takes up all the hours of your week leading up to game time, adjustments are made on the fly but mostly at halftime! YET on this site you want changes made after the first set of plays, you know better than that chris we all get frustrated but that’s part of the game and life. GO IRISH FINISH STRONG WIN THE BOWL GAME!! THAT WOULD MAKE THEM 23-3 THE LAST 2 YEARS, KIDS WANNA PLAY FOR WINNERS!!

      4. Whats a matter Chrissy no comeback, really with all your great knowledge! RIP the team when they win or lose your a great fan of the team!! Tell JS you are a coach who can do better, then throw the bomb!!

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