Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 27, 2020

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

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Page 20 of 55 NOV. 27, 2020 21 BOSTON COLLEGE RUNNING GAME VS. NOTRE DAME RUN DEFENSE On Boston College's first running play, Travis Levy burst through for 22 yards (much like Travis Etienne going for 10 on his first attempt a week earlier). After that, the Eagles gained just 63 more rushing yards, with a 17-yard burst by quarterback Phil Jurkovec off a zone read the lone highlight. A 16-yard loss on an errant snap that resulted in a lost fumble skewed the stat some, but this was an overall mismatch statistically with the Irish run defense among top five and the Boston College running game not in the top 110. ADVANTAGE: Notre Dame BOSTON COLLEGE PASSING GAME VS. NOTRE DAME PASS DEFENSE The gunslinger in Jurkovec (18-of-40 passing for 272 yards with two touchdowns and one interception) showed with four connections ranging from 21 to 40 yards. Conversely, a 45.0 completion percentage doesn't occur much in today's game. An interception by sophomore linebacker Jack Kiser with the Irish up 31-16 and right after a Notre Dame turnover was devastating as the lead was soon upped to 38-16. A lot of yardage after the fact. ADVANTAGE: Even NOTRE DAME RUNNING GAME VS. BOSTON COLLEGE RUN DEFENSE Lost fumbles by sophomore Kyren Williams (nine carries for 37 yards) and freshman Chris Tyree (17 carries for 74 yards) helped keep Boston College in the hunt most of the first half, but the Irish still produced 278 rushing yards thanks to both designed keepers and scrambling resourcefulness by quarter- back Ian Book (10 carries for 85 yards) and some underrated power by C'Bo Flemister (10 carries for 53 yards and two touchdowns), who is particularly effective with yards after contact. ADVANTAGE: Notre Dame NOTRE DAME PASSING GAME VS. BOSTON COLLEGE PASS DEFENSE For the second straight week, the previously maligned Irish wideout contin- gent combined for more than 200 receiving yards (207 on 14 catches), and this time the running backs were utilized more and tight ends less. Fifth-year senior Ben Skowronek with his three touchdowns — two on jump balls into the end zone — has taken on a "Claypoolish" role with the combina- tion of his range, leaping skills and timing to catch the ball at its high point. Book (20-of-27 passing for 283 yards, three touchdowns and no intercep- tions) has found an ideal balance of patience in the pocket with sensing when is the right time to take off running. Zero sacks while avoiding several. ADVANTAGE: Notre Dame SPECIAL TEAMS Boston College's Aaron Boumerhi converted all three of his field goal at- tempts, but three snafus by the Eagles evened it out for the Irish. First was a well-placed/bounced onside kick after the Eagles took a 13-10 lead that was nullified by an illegal block. Second, a 15-yard personal foul on Boston College when Irish junior punt returner Matt Salerno called for a fair catch. That set up the Irish at midfield for a touchdown drive that made it 24-13. Another Boston College onside kick interference after the touchdown that cut the Irish lead to 45-31 allowed Notre Dame to start possession at the Eagles' 31-yard line and run out the clock. ADVANTAGE: Even THIRD-DOWN CONVERSIONS Notre Dame converted 4 of 8 (50.0 percent) compared to Boston College's 4 of 11 (36.4 percent). The most backbreaking play was with the Eagles leading 13-10, Book on third-and-10 from midfield drilled a 48-yard strike to senior slot receiver Avery Davis that altered momentum. Book also scrambled for a six-yard score on third-and-three that helped expand the lead to 45-23. Bonus points to Notre Dame at the start of the second half when Boston Col- lege drove to the Irish 9-yard line but was unable to convert fourth-and-one with a run to the right side and kept the Irish up 31-16. ADVANTAGE: Notre Dame TURNOVERS Notre Dame entered the contest having committed only five turnovers in their first seven games, but it coughed it up three times on fumbles by Tyree, Williams and Skowronek, with the first two in Irish territory. However, those three miscues resulted in only three points for Boston College. The two Eagle turnovers were more damaging. Three plays after Williams' lost fumble, an errant center snap when Jurkovec wasn't ready was recovered by fifth-year senior defensive end Daelin Hayes at the BC 49 and led to a touch- down with four seconds left to provide a 31-16 halftime cushion. Next, after Skowronek's fumble, Jurkovec was intercepted on the next play by sophomore linebacker Jack Kiser that set up the 43-yard touchdown march to make it 38-16. So while the Eagles won the actual turnover battle (3-2), Notre Dame won the overall war by outscoring Boston College 14-3 off turnovers. ADVANTAGE: Even ANALYSIS With a season high in turnovers (three) and penalties (eight for 69 yards), Notre Dame was its lone threat of stopping itself while passing for 283 yards and rushing for 278. It could have added window-dressing points to the 45 at the end in a game that was not as close as the final 14-point margin might indicate. Boston College delivered some early body blows, but like Clemson a week earlier had to settle for field goals mostly when the game hung in balance. The difference was Book, who flummoxed the Eagles' defense by constantly evading potential sacks, extending plays and accounting for 368 yards of total offense (283 passing, 85 rushing). ON PAPER REVISITED BY LOU SOMOGYI Sophomore linebacker Jack Kiser's third-quarter interception of Phil Jurkovec was a pivotal play that helped the Fighting Irish put the game away in the third quarter. PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME ATHLETICS

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