Overreactions from Notre Dame’s Senior Day Rout of Boston College

Notre Dame capped off another season undefeated at home on Saturday with a 40-7 beating of Boston College that could have actually been a lot worse.  Notre Dame was sloppy at times and still beat the Eagles by 33 points for their third straight 30 point win.  They are now just one win away from a third consecutive 10-win season.

The offense left points on the board and still scored 40

If Notre Dame were more efficient in the redzone yesterday, the Irish would have put up 50 or more points.  Notre Dame scored touchdowns on just three of their six trips into the redzone.  They added field goals on two others and failed to score all together on one trip late in the 4th quarter with the backup offense in the game.

It was a sluggish start for the offense overall with just 16 points in the first half.  They moved the ball well at times throughout the first half but settled for field goals on three of their five drives before half-time.

It wasn’t a crisp effort from the Notre Dame offense, and they still scored 40 points.  That’s a good thing.  That is the type of offense that we expected to see all season long – an offense that can have an off day and still score 40 points on bad teams.

Notre Dame’s run defense was lights out

After letting Michigan gash them for over 300 yards on the ground in Ann Arbor, the Notre Dame run defense has found its way again.  Boston College was averaging 282 yards running the ball entering yesterday’s game.  Notre Dame held them to 128 yards on 43 carries.  They held star running back AJ Dillon to his season-low in yards with 56 yards on 14 carries.  Dillon ran for more yards against Clemson.

What made yesterday’s performance even more impressive was the fact that they were banged up a bit on the interior of the defensive line.  Notre Dame played without sophomore reserve Jayson Ademilola and then lost Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa during the game to injury.  Even with their depth stretched, they still shut down one of the nation’s best rushing attacks.

Ian Book leading the Irish in rushing again is far from ideal

While the Notre Dame rushing defense was lights out, their own running game wasn’t firing on all cylinders.  For the fourth week in a row, Ian Book was Notre Dame’s leading rusher.  While Book rediscovering his legs has been a big reason for the offense coming on strong at the end of the year, it’s not ideal that Book has been the team’s leading rusher four weeks in a row.

Against Boston College, Notre Dame’s rushing stats look pretty good, actually.  They ran for 252 yards on 44 attempts, but those stats were inflated by some quarterback scrambles and Braden Lenzy‘s 61-yard jet sweep touchdown.  Notre Dame running backs, on the other hand, struggled again.  Tony Jones Jr, Jahmir Smith, and C’bo Flemister combined for 23 carries for 73 yards.  That is not the kind of production you’d like to see from the ground game.

Notre Dame has struggled to run the ball as the offensive line has gotten banged up this year.  They probably won’t fix that by next weekend’s trip to Palo Alto either, so look for Book to be an integral part of the rushing attack again next week.

Despite injuries, the pass rush got home

Notre Dame sacked Boston College quarterback Dennis Grosel four times yesterday.  Boston College had given up six sacks during the first ten games of the season combined.  Ade Ogundeji led the way with two sacks while Khalid Kareem and Alohi Gilman each added one.  Gilman’s came on a perfectly executed safety blitz while Kareem continued his second half of the season surge.

Ogundeji’s two sacks were his first two of the season and gave Irish fans a glimpse of what he can provide to the Irish defense next year (assuming he returns for a 5th year).

Jacob Lacey is going to be a bad, bad man for this defense

Freshman defensive lineman Jacob Lacey is going to be a big-time player for Notre Dame in the future.  He is already flashing as a true freshman and was a force again on Saturday.  He was called upon more than normal against Boston College with the injuries they suffered on the interior defensive line.  Lacey’s impact wasn’t seen in the stat sheet with just one tackle, but he was a constant force whenever he was on the field.  He is going to be really fun to watch over the next few years.

What is up with Jafar Armstrong?

One of the reasons the Notre Dame rushing attack has not been sharp is the absence of Jafar Armstrong.  He’s been back from his injury for over a month now, but he clearly isn’t 100% since he isn’t getting on the field.  Armstrong did not record a carry or catch a single pass against Boston College.

After rushing 19 times against Virginia Tech and totaling just 37 yards, Armstrong has ten carries over the last three weeks.  On the season, Armstrong has a total of 70 yards – a number that most felt he would eclipse in the season opener alone.

Jonathan Doerer’s development was on full display

Is there a more surprising development this year than the kicking of Jonathan Doerer?  He looked so shaky in the spring and did not instill much confidence this summer.  Against Boston College, he was a weapon for Notre Dame.  Doerer connected on all four of his field-goal attempts, including two over 40 yards – a 45-yarder and a 47-yarder.

With Doerer’s perfect day on Saturday, he is 12 of 14 on the season, including 5 of 6 from beyond 40 yards.  He is also a perfect 48 for 48 on extra points.  I don’t think anyone can say they saw that coming before the season.  At this point, though, Doerer is a legit weapon for Notre Dame and should allow Chip Long and Brian Kelly to be more aggressive once they reach the opponents’ side of the field, knowing they have a reliable kicker.

NBC absolutely nailed the Fan Experience on NBCSN

Greg already wrote a full feature on this, but NBC really nailed the Fan Experience channel.  The bar is pretty low for NBC these days – especially when they turn the main broadcast into a Flutie-fest like they did yesterday, but there wasn’t a whole lot that NBC could have done better with the NBCSN feed.  Yeah, they used the sky cam too much, but they had to get their money out of that failed experiment when they can.  They could have given us a little more of the Notre Dame radio broadcast, too, but I was legitimately shocked at how good of a job they did with it.

I’ll go on record now stating that I would 100% pay to have access to that feed for every single Notre Dame football home game.

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  1. Great Win for the Irish!! I do find it highly disturbing that BK refuses to take the handcuffs off Phil and let him run a series or two with the first string. I would’ve rather he let Nolan Henry play a couple of series than waste two series with PJ bleeding the clock. Kelly is a Dick!!

    1. I know Kelly wont do this but if I was him I would make some changes this off season with the offense. College football today is about having a good to very good defense and special teams paired with a 45 to 50 point unstoppable offense if you want to be a perennial national title contender.Over the last decade the teams that are going to the playoffs and winning national championships including this year are hitting those scoring averages Ohio State 49 points a game Alabama 47 points a game Clemson 46 points a game LSU 48 points a game Oklahoma 48 points a game .Notredame 36 points a game. Kelly needs to look at Quinn and Long and either shuffle his staff or bring in a big time offensive wizard like Ed Oregron did.

      1. First off do you really believe ND’S QB is anywhere near the level of any of those teams QB’S ? Do you think ND has anywhere near the RB’S or WR’S those teams have? They don’t allow transfers like JOE BURROW at LSU, or HURTS at OK, or FIELDS at OSU!! But IM sure once KELLY is gone the IRISH will continue with the success they had when DAVIE, WILLINGHAM and FAT ASS had the prior 14 years!! Still waiting dumbass davey to name his next coaching legend!

      2. NDCM,

        You crack me up!

        Straight from Kelly’s mouth…we felt like Phil Jurkovec was as good as Trevor Lawrence coming out of high school. Hmmm…so I guess we will never know if ND has a QB as good as those teams even though Kelly thought so two years ago. And Chase Claypool might be the best receiver in the nation so that’s just a fantastic observation of you to think we don’t have a receiver as good as those teams. Right on bro! RB I’ll give you though.

        We know you love Kelly so keep bowing down to him. I’ll change my feelings towards Kelly if he beats Clemson next year. Biggest game on our schedule. Beat them and I’ll take back my comments.

      3. No notredame doesn’t have the game breakers those teams have this year
        But other years they did. Will Fuller CJprosise Josh Adams tyler eifert Cole Kmet maybe the best tight end in the country. Claypool is an all american receiver.Also you dont think a great coach couldn’t exploit Lenzys speed or Keys speed. I agree and said Notredame can’t bring in jucos like Auburn did with Farley and Cam Newton. Also can’t bring in undergrad transfers Burrows Fields Tua.Also how do you explain Notredame recruiting top rated lineman every year many who go on to the nfl and do very well and Notredame never has a great running game I live in Ohio. Eicheberh and Kramer erte the top 2 lineman in Ohio.Ohio state was all over both of yhem trying to flip them up to signing day.Kramer rated a 5 star. Banks and Patterson both 4 stars out of California.Hainsey top rated lineman out of IGM in Florida and Notredame can’t blow Boston College off the ball one of the worst run defenses in the country..

      4. First off I’VE seen PJ play live 3 times living close to him in HS. Great ath. and QB but that hasn’t happened yet! They had to tell him to take a more serious approach or get passed by B CLARK! HE has done that and hopefully will fulfill his potential next year, only PJ can make that happen!! So you have CLAYPOOL at receiver and who else? Claypools a good receiver and the only good one right now, not elite. If you believe CHASE is the best receiver in the country your crazy, and probably are! I don’t love KELLY I’VE said from day 1 he is good coach not great, but is doing a great job with ND! Hard to win when you can’t bring in the best players because of academics ( Markesse STEPE )! For a guy who yells during in game comments “THROW THE BOMB NOW ” IM sure were all waiting to see if we beat CLEMSON next year to get your approval BRO ! Kelly IM sure will have trouble finding a big time job after going 32-6 the last 3 years, with an undefeated season and a CFP appearance at a school where you can’t get the best talent in the country due to admissions! Books limited with his arm strength you see that on his out patterns across the field! But KELLY wants him back and guys on this site rip Kelly for that, Book is 20-3 as a starter why wouldn’t you bring him back? PJ has to beat him out this year, but what if he doesn’t Book is a great backup plan!! OBTW what coach is taking the pay cut and restrictions in recruiting to come coach ND? WILLIE TAGGART was making over 4 million a year to coach FLA. ST. That’s 2 million more than Kelly and I can name 40 more who are paid more! My point is you have to accept ND’S not looking for a coach there again 32-6 the last 3 years with a CFP and 3 bowl games! You guys have to get over the MICHIGAN game it ruined this season, MICHIGAN is not any better than ND but things went downhill it happens!! The players got over it a fought to a good season, if they can you should!!

      5. NDCM,

        You just lost all credibility saying Chase Claypool is not an elite receiver LOL!

        Just have one question…are you blind!? (in the style of Andy Bernard at the company picnic volleyball game LOL!)

    2. Earlier in the year it seemed Jurkovec was given a bit more to do with the offense when he was put in.

      I’m starting to think that’s because Book is likely coming back and BK has pretty much already decided Book will start next year so the handcuffs are back on for Jurkovec. He’ll just be handing the ball off and make some running plays and that’s it.

      Unless the rails somehow come off for Book in the next 2 games they have this year I think it’s a given Book will start next year. And honestly while I’m no fan of BK these days I’m not sure how he doesn’t start Book next year. I’m still suspicious of his ability to beat an elite defense until he faces one down, but if a QB is doing well, even against lesser competition, how do you pull him? Then the question will be does Jurkovec stick around or decide to take his services elsewhere?

      1. Even if the rails fell off Kelly wouldn’t switch to PJ next year over Book. Already said in his post game interview he would be recruiting Book to come back next season because we know the NFL isn’t going to be drooling over him. With Book next year it may be the same game plan against him and from the looks of things most of the teams on the schedule are on the upswing next season.

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