Frankie V’s Prediction: Will Notre Dame Football Learn from Its Past?

Notre Dame hits the road today to take on nemesis Boston College in a rivalry game that almost always means more to the Eagles than the Irish. On the heels of last weekend’s historic win, Notre Dame looks to avoid a letdown to keep their perfect season alive heading into next weekend’s bye. The Eagles know a thing or two about ending perfect seasons for the Irish, though. Will history repeat itself, or will Notre Dame learn from its past?

Notre Dame needs to exorcise more demons today

Earlier this year, Notre Dame exorcised some demons from 2011 with a total beatdown of South Florida. There are much bigger demons for Notre Dame to slay today. Notre Dame fans are still traumatized by memories of Boston College’s upsets in 1993 and 2002 when they ruined perfect seasons for the Irish. Notre Dame lost more games in 2002 following their loss to the Eagles, but 1993 without question, cost the Irish a title.

Coming off an upset of #1 ranked Clemson last weekend, the 1993 comparisons are unavoidable even if they seem to have gotten annoying to Brian Kelly this week. Get ready to see highlights of David Gordon over and over today during the telecast, though.

The one big difference between 1993 and today is that this game is on the road, which in a case like this, I think favors the Irish. In ‘93, the Irish hosted Boston College and had all of the distractions of being on campus all week. Getting away from home and being on the road should help with focus. This Boston College team is also far from a top 15 team like the Glen Foley led squad of ‘93.

Don’t freak out over a slow start

Don’t be surprised if the Irish do have a slow start today. Last week was grueling both emotionally and physically for this squad. A double-overtime thriller against a team like Clemson will take its toll on any team. So, if the Irish look a little sluggish out of the gate, don’t be too concerned. Now, if that sluggishness lingers until, say, the second or third quarter, then you can freak out.

Notre Dame Must Limit Phil Jurkovec’s Deep Balls

The one way Boston College can hang with Notre Dame and pull of an upset today is if Phil Jurkovec hits on a few deep shots. It’s how Boston College built its big lead against Clemson two weeks ago, and it’s really how Clemson came back against Notre Dame last weekend. Neither BC against Clemson or the Tigers versus the Irish last week could string together long drives. They needed big plays.

If Jurkovec doesn’t have at least two long touchdown passes today, this game won’t be particularly close. If he does, well, then things could get dicey.

Notre Dame could not get much pressure last week – until the very end – while using primarily their front four. Given the problems on the back-end of the secondary recently, I don’t think you will see Clark Lea change much and send too many blitzes today, so the front four will need to have a more significant impact this week.

Can Notre Dame get Chris Tyree going again?

Kyren Williams will eat today – he has every week. Freshman speedster Chris Tyree, however, has slowed down a bit in recent weeks. Today would be a great time to get him going again, even though the Boston College run defense has been excellent lately. They didn’t limit Travis Etienne to 28 yards rushing like Notre Dame, but hey, no defense has ever really done that before Notre Dame.

Tommy Rees has been running some interesting motion plays with Tyree and Williams in recent weeks that have been a work in progress. I am hopeful that we’ll see that work pay off today with a big play.

Boston College is going to be overly aggressive in a game like this. Rees and the Irish offense will be able to capitalize on that with some big plays.

Will Javon McKinley continue his emergence?

Hats off to Javon McKinley for proving pretty much everyone wrong by being the guy against Clemson. He had a career day against the best defense he ever had to face by winning almost every 50/50 ball that Ian Book threw his way. After an effort like that, look for Book to continue trusting him to win those matchups similar to how he did with Miles Boykin in 2018 and Chase Claypool last year.

For all the good that McKinley’s done so far, one area he hasn’t had an impact yet is in the redzone. Notre Dame’s redzone offense has not been great this year, but if McKinley can make contested catches against the Clemson defense, he should be able to do the same against any other defense he faces this year.

Look for McKinley to score his first touchdown of the season today.

I am really hoping for an Ian Book explosion

Ian Book does not have to outplay Phil Jurkovec today to prove anything after what he did last week. Still, at the same time, I’d love to see Book come and silence the contingent of Notre Dame fans who still think that Jurkovec should be the starting quarterback for the Irish over Book this year.

After a really slow start, Book has had 300+ yards passing in two of the last three games, both of which were the best two defenses the Irish have faced all season – Pitt and Clemson.

Notre Dame’s offense relies on its power rushing attack, and they will again today, but part of hopes Kelly and Rees dial up a few more passes this week to let Book shine against his former understudy.

Prediction Time

When the line opened for this game at 13.5, I immediately thought, man, that’s a lot of points to cover. But as the week has progressed, I’ve come along more and more to the idea of Notre Dame taking care of business today. I think the Irish will start a little slow, but Boston College already had their one game of the year where they played out of their minds two weeks ago. I just don’t think BC is talented enough to repeat that effort.

Notre Dame 38, Boston College 17

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26 Comments

    1. Yeah, not so easy in the end! ND better recover the onside kick.

      The best thing for ND after this unimpressive win against a team that struggled against Syracuse is that Ohio St. didn’t play and leap frog ND!

      Stupid penalties and TOs part of an unimpressive win.

      1. Put the game away B. K. It’s not piling on anymore with the beauty contest. Ohio St’s opponents have a combined record of 2-10 right now. Indiana is the ONLY good team they’ll play. But there’s still talk of the Buckeye’s leapfrogging ND. The Big 10 and the Pac 12 should be eliminated already so that Cincy, BYU, have a chance. But nope. So extra points are required in today’s game.

        They shut down the offense at the 9 minute mark. BC showed life, especially since the 3rd team ND defense was out there. This is not Pop Warner. They are adults.

        D pass coverage was soft at times in the secondary. I didn’t really like that.

        Even though the score was solid, they made B.C. look better than they are.

        UNC is going to be a long day if things don’t improve.

  1. Unbelievable!

    Instead of a pick to seal the deal, a ticky-tacky penalty allows BC to go down field and get a TD.

    Don’t blame the refs, either, the D allowed BC to drive down and score!

    This is why ND gets no style points!

    1. 100% agree. And the ND hate is still there, so style points are required.

      31 years of futility have a slim chance of being erased this year. But only if the team and especially the coaches keep the pedal to the floor.

  2. These fumbles have to stop immediately! A TD on the drive pretty much seals the deal.

    ND will be in shoot outs against Wake and UNC and can’t give up points on TOs.

    Stop keeping these guys in the game, already!

    GO IRISH!

  3. ND needs to clean shit up on O. No more TOs, please. Book needs to continue to use his legs and take the easy throws when available.

    The D needs to watch for over pursuing and the cut back and keep PJ in the pocket and make him beat you from inside a bucket. Get someone in his face. No QB like an ugly DL or LB in his mug as he throws! A three-and-out to start the half would be great, especially if the O turns that into a TD. At that point it’s pretty much game over, I’d think.

    GO IRISH!

    BEAT BC!

  4. The last couple of season, Ian Book has had the go-to receiver in Chase Claypool to throw to in the redzone. It finally looks like Ben Skowronek has filled in Claypool’s shoes.

    17-23
    213 Yds
    3 TDs.

    Great first half Ian.

    1. I would say a good half, “spicey.” Book is still missing a lot of easy reads and check downs. That will come back to haunt him if it continues. Reese needs to have him watch more film. You just can’t make that throw to Skowronek when Myer is WIDE the F OPEN!

      1. When it is the last play of any half, a fade route is typically the call. The QB has been coached to throw the ball right away to the receiver who is running that route. Book, like every QB who has played this game. Is coached to throw that pass right away. Even Payton Manning would have made that decision that Book did.

      2. UNLESS YOU HAVE A GUY COME WSIDE THE F OPEN OFF THE SNAP AND YOU’RE LOOKING THAT WAY AT THE SNAP OF THE BALL!

        Sorry for the all caps but you miss that throw and settle for three instead of seven that might end up being big.

      1. There is 10 seconds on the clock. Book has been coached to throw the ball to his first read in that situation.

      2. There was no read necessary, “spicey”! A blind man could’ve seen that from the get go. I mean Myer was open right off the line with no one within ten yards of him!

        It’s not just that play, that drive, this half, or this game, “spicey.” He’s been missing reads and check downs all season. The color commentator even said so.

    1. They weren’t when I wrote that!

      But thanks to the refs getting it right on the onside kick ND had new life. Second time this season the opponents recover an onside kick ready to take the game over and the refs bail out ND.

      JOK is a stud. But PJ has made plays with both arms and legs. The D needs to keep him in the pocket and wrap or PJ will get away and beat you with his arm or legs.

      Book continues to just miss easy reads. Skworonek bailed him out on that last TD. Myer was wide open! If Skworonek doesn’t come down with that throw or the DB breaks it up, ND has to settle for three instead of seven! That will kill ND against high-octane Os like Wake and NC.

      Go Irish!

  5. He’s making the ND D sweat!

    Sorry, but as much as I am no BK fan, I’m more an Irish fan. It makes no sense to root for PJ today. Wait until next week to become a PJ fan.

    This team hasn’t been able to handle prosperity for thirty plus years now. Different coaches, same results. No ND team ever seems ready to play BC, especially after a big win.

    This team is just garbage right now!

  6. ND is going have to outscore every team left on their schedule except Syracuse.

    This RZ O is a huge problem, friends. ND will struggle to beat BC today, WF, and NC settling for FGs. Book’s limitations as a passer are glaring in the RZ.

  7. Notre Dame should prevail in this game. 45-31 Irish. Hoping Jurkovic has a solid game. Book not the difference maker for ND to win a playoff game. Irish wont beat Clemson in a rematch if tigers are healthy. Were lucky to beat Clemson this time around especially with a gift td by the defense.

      1. Hey Rob, Hope you’re enjoying the game. Obviously I’m pulling for ND to win the game and they should win but I’m also pulling for Jurkovec to make Kelly sweat a bit. Cant stand Kelly

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