Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 14, 2020

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 36 of 55 NOV. 14, 2020 37 BY TODD D. BURLAGE BOSTON COLLEGE RUNNING GAME VS. NOTRE DAME RUN DEFENSE Talk about a mismatch. Boston College features one of the worst rushing attacks in the country, while Notre Dame has spent almost all of this season ranked near or inside the top 10 nationally in rushing defense. The Eagles entered play Nov. 7 having produced just 94.6 rushing yards per game, making them one of only 11 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in the country averaging fewer than 100 rushing yards. Meanwhile, the Irish crossed the halfway point of their regular season allowing merely 93.7 rush- ing yards a game, which made them one of 15 teams in the country holding opponents to fewer than 100 rushing yards. Keep that pace, and this unit will become the best single-season rushing defense that head coach Brian Kelly has fielded in 11 seasons at Notre Dame — 105.69 yards per game in 2012 remains the standard. As expected, Eagles junior David Bailey paces his team's rushing attack, though that's not saying much because Bailey averaged only 3.6 yards per carry and 43.4 yards per game through seven out- ings. As a team, the Eagles headed into play last weekend averaging only 2.9 yards per rush. Eagles preseason All-ACC senior lineman Ben Petrula remains a player to watch along an experi- enced but underachieving BC offensive line. Advantage: Notre Dame BOSTON COLLEGE PASSING GAME VS. NOTRE DAME PASS DEFENSE In one of the more anticipated reunions of this season, Eagles junior quarterback Phil Jurkovec is at the throttle after transferring from the Univer- sity of Notre Dame in January, shortly after Irish quarterback Ian Book announced he was opting for a fifth-year senior season. With limited production in the Boston College running game, almost all of the Eagles offense runs through Jurkovec. For the most part, he has delivered. Named the Eagles opening-day starter in the pre- season after playing sparingly during his two years at Notre Dame, Jurkovec has remained in the top five of the ACC rankings in nearly every passing category, including yards per game and total touchdowns. After rushing for 844 yards on 5.7 yards per carry in 13 games in 2019, junior running back David Bailey has struggled this season with just 304 yards and 3.6 yards per carry through seven contests. PHOTO COURTESY BOSTON COLLEGE ATHLETICS GAME PREVIEW: BOSTON COLLEGE On PaPer

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