Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 27, 2020

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

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 23 of 55

24 NOV. 27, 2020 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED Quick analysis and musings after Notre Dame's 45-31 win over Boston College to move to 8-0 overall and 7-0 in the ACC The win was Brian Kelly's 100th of his Notre Dame tenure, tying Lou Holtz for second-most wins in school history. No QB Debate • RIP, the "Should Notre Dame have benched Ian Book for Phil Jurkovec?" dis- cussion that was never based in reality. Don't let the door hit you on the way out. • Book followed up his stellar night against Clemson by completing 20 of 27 passes for 283 yards with three touchdowns. He eclipsed 10 yards per attempt for the second time this year, and his 74.1 percent completion rate was his highest since 2018. He added a team-high 85 rushing yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. Whatever his worst play was, it was not memorable. • The pocket poise and purpose with which Book scrambles is such a differ- ence-maker and contrast from 2019 to 2020. He's hanging in there longer. He remains elusive. On the second of his three touchdown passes to fifth-year senior wide re- ceiver Bennett Skowronek, he casually shifted out of the pocket when senior left guard Aaron Banks gave up pressure and fired a dart to Skowronek on a cor- ner route. When Book bails out of the pocket now, he's not defaulting to run. • Jurkovec completed 18 of 40 passes for 272 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Boston College head coach Jeff Hafley said after the game Jurkovec suffered a separated shoulder Oct. 31 against Clemson. • Jurkovec is nothing if not must-watch. There will be valleys, like short- hopped throws, but the peaks are undeniable — such as his four-yard impro- vised touchdown to sophomore wide receiver Zay Flowers in the first quarter. Red-Zone Solutions • An easy way to fix red-zone issues is to find a receiver who invites physical- ity and opens up the playbook for more one-on-ones and jump balls. Those weren't often options that worked or were tried in the first seven games. Skowronek has the frame at 6-3 and 220 pounds, but just as important he seeks out contact. • A second way to fix red-zone issues: Get to goal-line situations and throw four tight ends in there. Notre Dame has called nine runs out of 14 personnel this year after doing so twice Saturday. Seven were touchdowns, four more than anyone else in the country. Missed Opportunities • Hang onto the ball. Wear stickier gloves. Cradle it like a baby. Anything. The case of fumble-itis has festered longer than Notre Dame would like. • Catching interceptions would be helpful for Notre Dame's defense, too. It's the defense's equivalent of finishing action in the red zone (well, before today). Sluggish Defense? • The dropped interceptions were indicative of the defense's overall tired- ness. They just seemed a little slow. Still a solid day that included seven tackles for loss, six passes broken up and two takeaways — but also just one sack and one other quarterback hurry. The lack of pressure remains a subplot to monitor. Different Offenses • What a contrast of emotional experience these offenses are. It's hard for Notre Dame to go into extended ruts with sophomore running back Kyren Wil- liams, this offensive line and Book as comfortable as he has been lately. The frustrations are in the inability to finish. Boston College, meanwhile, is a roller coaster of euphoria and angst. Few in- betweens. A lot of no-no-no-yes plays and chunks, but a lot of duds. Backfield Ups And Downs • Junior running back C'Bo Flemister runs like he's constantly expecting con- tact. Unfortunately, he left the game in the fourth quarter due to an apparent injury on a five-yard rush. Kelly said it "does not appear to be a serious injury." • Williams didn't play in the second half. He sustained a shoulder injury late in the first half, but he was on the sidelines with his helmet on the entire time. He ended with 74 total yards (37 rushing and 37 receiving), but lost a fumble. Obscure Rule • How many of you had heard of the illegal block on an onside kick rule before this year? Be honest. That's now twice in five games it has erased an important onside kick for the opponent. We dogged all the replays after the Clemson game, but good on the officials to look for it upon review and cor- rectly identify it. Rookie Relevance • Freshman receiver and former five-star recruit Jordan Johnson played three first-half snaps, his first action since Sept. 19 at USF in garbage time. He played nearly an entire fourth-quarter drive. All that will do is shift the fan clamoring from wanting him to play to demand- ing targets. Tight Coverage • Notre Dame's defense made Jurkovec's task no easier by blanketing Boston College's Hunter Long — who leads all Football Bowl Subdivision tight ends in catches and yards — in the first half. He did not catch a pass until the third quarter. Defensive coordinator Clark Lea continues to deliver in taking away the op- ponent's strengths. On The Nose • Kurt Hinish, have a season. The senior nose tackle is consistently disruptive and has 7.0 tackles for loss this year, more than his 4.5 from a year ago. That ranks second on the team. Seeing Red Bandanas • Notre Dame wore the blue jerseys on the road because Boston College was donning its "Red Bandana" jerseys, which are predominantly white. The Eagles' jerseys were great. The tradition is even better — a way to honor alum Welles Crowther, who died on 9/11 while rescuing 18 other civilians in the World Trade Center. INITIAL THOUGHTS BY PATRICK ENGEL Junior running back C'Bo Flemister provided physicality to Notre Dame's rushing attack, contributing 53 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries. PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME ATHLETICS

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - Nov. 27, 2020