Notre Dame Football Primer: #20 Irish host rival Boston College

After relinquishing a 22-point lead and escaping with a 3-point victory against Navy, the unpredictable Irish host their rival Boston College on Saturday afternoon. The Eagles enter this matchup with a 3-7 record, but ironically the teams with losing records have given Notre Dame the most trouble this fall. Can Marcus Freeman lead the #20 Fighting Irish to a dominant victory in their home finale? Find out this weekend when the two programs battle for the Frank Leahy Trophy.

Essential Game Info:

  • Game Time: Saturday, November 19th at 2:30 PM ET on NBC
  • Location: Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Indiana
  • Matchup History: Notre Dame is 17-9 all-time against the Boston College Eagles (Last Meeting 2020: Irish won 45 to 31)
  • Current Odds: Notre Dame -21.0
  • Trophy: Frank Leahy Memorial Bowl

Boston College Details:

  • Conference: ACC (Atlantic Division)
  • Head Coach: Jeff Hafley
  • 2022 Record: 3-7 (2-5)
  • 2021 Record: 6-6 (2-6)

Weather Forecast

The current GameDay forecast shows a 15% chance of rain with a high of 29 degrees and low of 18.

Boston College Storylines:

The Eagles visit South Bend for the first time since 2019. Boston College is 0-8 in their last 8 matchups with Notre Dame. This rivalry was once dominated by the Eagles in the early 2000’s but the Irish have since controlled the series. Although Jeff Hafley’s group enters this matchup with a 3-7 record, like I wrote last week, records go out the door in rivalry games.

Boston College had their most impressive win last Saturday, with a 21 to 20 upset at #16 NC State.

Phil Jurkovec is questionable for this matchup. The former Notre Dame Quarterback has been battling a right knee injury and even if the BC Quarterback is healthy, the Eagles may play the hot hand of freshman Emmett Morehead. Last week against NC State, Morehead went 29 for 48 with 330 passing yards, 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. On the ground he had 11 carries for -1 yards.

Notre Dame Storylines:

The Fighting Irish may be the most inconsistent team in the country. Notre Dame dominated #10 Clemson (9-1) and #15 North Carolina (9-1) this season (rankings when article was written). Marcus Freeman’s group beat both teams by an average of 17 points. Meanwhile the Irish lost to 6-4 Marshall, 3-7 Stanford, and only beat 3-7 Navy by 3-points.

I would understand if Notre Dame played Navy early in the season, but it was week #10 and the offensive lapses with the play calling was inexcusable. Coach Freeman and Coach Rees are young coaches with high ceilings, but the lack of experience appeared in the second half against the Naval Academy.

Which Notre Dame will show up against Boston College? The Fighting Irish will welcome another highly motivated team and rival to South Bend on Saturday. Boston College will not be playing in a bowl game this year, and the matchup this weekend will be their Super Bowl. Call it lack of motivation or lack of execution, but the Irish better not play to the level of their competition or they will be on upset alert.

How inconsistent is the Irish Offense? Notre Dame ran for 263 yards against #10 Clemson but only tallied 66 yards on the ground facing Navy. Yes, the Midshipmen were loading the box and Drew Pyne did offset that statistic with 269 passing yards, but regardless, the University of Notre Dame must dominate a service academy in the trenches.

Head-to-Head Matchups:

Notre Dame Offense vs. Boston College Defense: The Notre Dame Offense is averaging 366 yards per matchup, while Boston College is allowing 375 yards per game. Tommy Rees will want to get back to a strong ground attack in this matchup. Conversely, the Eagles will try to force Drew Pyne to beat them through the air and make quick decisions, which he struggled with in the second half last week.

I give the Irish a slight advantage in this category.

Advantage: Notre Dame

Boston College Offense vs. Notre Dame Defense: The Eagles are averaging 321 yards per contest, while the Fighting Irish are allowing 332 yards per game. Boston College showed some sparks on offense facing NC State last week and the Irish must prepare as if they were playing a ranked opponent.

Although they showed some signs of improvement last week, the Eagles only scored 3-points against UConn, 3-points on Clemson, and 15-points on Wake Forest.

Notre Dame has the advantage in this matchup.

Advantage: Notre Dame

Special Teams: Notre Dame’s kicker Blake Grupe is 10 for 15 with his longest make of the season at 47 yards. Conversely, Boston College’s Connor Lytton is 8 for 14 with his longest make at 46 yards.

Brian Mason’s group has a punt blocked almost every week, and it is a major advantage in this game.

Advantage: Notre Dame

My Prediction:

When it appeared Notre Dame finally turned a corner for the 2022 season, Irish fans were brought back down to reality in the second half of the Navy matchup. The Fighting Irish scored 35-points in the first half and did not add a single point in the second half. Undoubtedly, a victory this late in the year is the most important thing, but the game had Stanford vibes.

I predict the rushing attack will bounce back against Boston College this week, but Drew Pyne must play a complete game if the Irish want a victory. Motivation will play a major factor all around. Notre Dame Stadium must be electric, players need to match the intensity of their opponent, and play a full four quarters of football.

Tommy Rees and Marcus Freeman are showing their lack of experience. In the short term this season has been bumpy, but they have a higher ceiling than Coach Kelly did in South Bend. The entire team needs to show more consistency this week when they are favored and not the underdogs. I predict the Fighting Irish will win by two touchdowns with a strong rushing attack and a few timely throws by Drew Pyne.

Prediction: Notre Dame 38 Boston College 24

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  1. THis ND team has enough talent and proven ability to absolutely steamroll BC.
    Or they could quite conceivably lose.

    And unlike Alabama or Georgia or Oregon losing a game —- which results in field-storming, players tearing up, TV announcers yelling —- ND fans wouldn’t be shocked at all.
    Hell, ND’s victorious opponents don’t even get that excited.

    Because it happens FAR too often for anyone to be surprised, let alone shocked.
    And that is a serious problem.

  2. All this analysis of how the offense failed us in the second half is obviously true. Of course, if the defense could have done “thing one” against any wishbone type team, STOP THE FULLBACK, we would not be writing any of this. As it was, we were really lucky to win…in fact, I can’t recall a wishbone team ever getting that much dive- back yardage and losing! But then, I am senile, or at least my memory is.

    BGC 77 82

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