Notre Dame Football Primer: #2 Irish travel to Boston College

After a program defining win over #1 Clemson, the Fighting Irish hit the road to face their first “true” rival of the 2020 season. Notre Dame will be facing the Boston College Eagles and former Irish Quarterback Phil Jurkovec. The Eagles are much improved from a year ago and will be looking to knock-off the Irish from their rekindled glory.

Essential Game Info

  • Game Time: November 14th at 3:30 pm ET on ABC
  • Location: Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
  • Matchup History: The Irish are 15-9 all-time against the Boston College Eagles (Last Meeting 2019: Notre Dame won 40-7)
  • Trophy: Frank Leahy Memorial Bowl
  • Current Odds: Notre Dame -13.5

Weather Forecast

The current forecast for GameDay shows a 0% chance of rain with a high of 52 degrees and a low of 38.

Boston College Details

  • Conference: Atlantic Coast Conference
  • Head Coach: Jeff Hafley
  • 2020 Record: 5-3 (4-3)
  • 2019 Record: 6-7 (4-4)

Boston College Storylines:

Can history repeat itself for the Eagles? After Lou Holtz and the Irish knocked off #1 Florida State in South Bend, the Boston College Eagles returned the favor the following week. That may have been 27-years ago, but it is a relevant illustration to show why the Irish must maintain focus throughout the remainder of the season.

After Notre Dame dismantled Boston College a season ago, expect the Eagles to seek revenge. Phil Jurkovec will undoubtedly want to spoil the undefeated season for Notre Dame. Remember how the Irish had Clemson circled last week? The Eagles certainly have done the same for the Irish this Saturday.

Notre Dame transfer Phil Jurkovec headlines offense. This fall, Jurkovec is 172 for 277 (62.1%) with 2,083 passing yards, 15 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions. On the ground, he has 65 attempts for 96 yards and 3 rushing touchdowns. There was a good chance that Phil Jurkovec would have been the starter for the Irish next fall, but instead, he has become the leader of the Boston College Eagles.

Key Boston College Players. The rushing attack is led by David Bailey, who has 110 attempts for 429 yards (3.9 yards per carry) with 4 rushing touchdowns. Receiver Zay Flowers and tight end Hunter Long are the top targets for Phil Jurkovec. Flowers has 38 receptions for 600 yards and 6 touchdowns, while Hunter Long has 43 catches for 501 yards and 3 scores.

Notre Dame Storylines:

Time to refocus after the monumental win. Last weekend, Notre Dame knocked off a #1 opponent for the first time since Florida State in 1993. It was Brian Kelly’s first win over a top-5 opponent since taking over in South Bend (first time Irish had even played a top-5 team at home during Kelly era).

As I wrote previously, it is all about how the team responds the next few weeks. The Irish hit the road for their next two contests against upset-minded Boston College and North Carolina.

Notre Dame proves they have a playoff-caliber offense. Against Clemson, Ian Book went 22 for 39 for 310 yards with a passing touchdown. On the ground, he had 68 rushing yards, which helped extend drives and keep plays alive. Javon McKinley, Avery Davis, and Michael Mayer all stepped up against the Tigers.

The Physicality of the Irish triumphed on offense. Behind an elite offensive line, the Irish had 209 yards and averaged 5.1 yards per carry. Ian Book stepped up in a historic game and proved he can lead Notre Dame back to the playoffs.

The ACC Championship Game is the next goal. Everything is in front of Brian Kelly and the Irish if they can take care of business. They are no longer the hunters; they have a significant target on their back like Clemson did last weekend. Notre Dame Football joined a conference for the first time and are the only undefeated team in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Coach Kelly mentioned looking ahead. It will be important to look ahead but understand that four opponents stand between them and a conference championship appearance.

Head to Head Matchups:

Notre Dame Offense vs. Boston College Defense: The Fighting Irish produce 37 points per game, while the Boston College Eagles are allowing 25 points per game. Ian Book and Kyren Williams had outstanding performances against Clemson last Saturday.

The Boston College defense will have its hands full trying to stop the Irish’s running and passing attack.

Advantage: Notre Dame

Boston College Offense vs. Notre Dame Defense: The Eagles score 26 points per game, but the Irish Defense is only surrendering 15 points per game. Phil Jurkovec will present several challenges in this matchup as a dual-threat, but Clark Lea’s defense has the decisive advantage.

The Notre Dame Defense is one of the best units in the country, and they proved that against Clemson.

Advantage: Notre Dame

Special Teams: Boston College’s kicker, Aaron Boumerhi, is 10 for 14 on the season with a long of 41 yards. Conversely, Jonathan Doerer is 11 for 14 this fall with a long of 48 yards.

When the Irish needed Doerer most against #1 Clemson, he was 4 for 5. His only miss was on a school-record attempt at 57-yards.

Advantage:

My Prediction:

Biggest win for the Irish this century. There is still a lot of work to do, and the Irish will likely face Clemson next month in the ACC Championship, but let the players enjoy this ride. Ian Book stepped up, the receivers made superb plays, and the Irish Defense played tremendously against Clemson.

The Eagles have lost six straight in this series. Boston College will be as amped as the Irish were last weekend, but the Irish running attack and defense will be too much for the Eagles to handle. I cannot wait to see how the passing attack continues to improve each week.

It is crazy to think that Notre Dame did not play perfect last week. There were still mistakes and areas of improvement moving forward. Brian Kelly takes care of business on the road this weekend.

Prediction: Notre Dame 31 Boston College 17

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