Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 23, 2015 Issue

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

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Page 76 of 113

GAME PREVIEW: BOSTON COLLEGE Notre Dame in 1999-2001 under Bob Davie, thrived under Urban Meyer at Florida from 2005-10 while winning two national titles and serving as of- fensive coordinator his final two sea- sons. The woes on offense this year were not totally unexpected after graduat- ing all five starting offensive linemen from a year earlier, plus playmaking quarterback Tyler Murphy, a transfer from Florida who served as a valuable stop-gap measure. But after two 7-6 campaigns to begin his career at Chestnut Hill, the offense has been in the abyss under Addazio in year three. ON THE DEFENSIVE Recent Notre Dame-Boston Col- lege matchups have fit the mold of physical, blue-collar slugfests, with the most recent meeting a 21-6 victory by the Irish at BC in November 2012 to improve to 10-0 and keep their na- tional title hopes alive. A year earlier, the Irish survived a hard-fought 16-14 battle at home. Starting with BC's 14-7 upset of 8-0 and No. 4 Notre Dame in 2002, the two teams have met nine times. Notre Dame has averaged 17.5 points per game, with its high-water mark a 31-13 victory at Boston College in 2010, Brian Kelly's first season as Fighting Irish head coach. The Eagles scored one more point overall in those nine contests. Boston College's defense is capable of holding the explosive Irish offense in the 20-point range again. Fifth-year senior defensive lineman Connor Wu- jciak, the son of 1974-75 Notre Dame starting guard Al Wujciak, headlines a stout run defense that was ranked No. 1 in the country (71.7 yards per game on just 2.12 yards per rush), just ahead of Alabama (75.8), going into the Nov. 14 weekend. The Eagles also have fared well against the pass with a No. 13 pass effi- ciency defense ranking and were hold- ing opponents to 14.4 points per game, which was No. 3 in the country. Boston College's defense is able to get off the field, ranking No. 3 in third- down defense (23.3 percent, 34 of 146). If defense alone could win champi- onships, it would be Boston College, not Notre Dame, in the College Foot- ball Playoff conversation this month. SHAMROCK SERIES SUCCESS Notre Dame has a history of bring- ing out the best in Boston College, but the Shamrock Series has a track record of inspiring the best from the Fighting Irish. Although this Shamrock Series event will be played in Boston College's backyard, this off-site home game has seen the Irish go 6-0 while outscor- ing its opposition by an average of 22 points (36.7 to 14.7). Granted, most of the foes have not been strong, but even after reeling from a 35-21 loss at home to Oklahoma in 2013, the underdog Notre Dame team rebounded with a 37-34 win versus No. 22 Arizona State in Arlington, Texas. It is a regular-season version of a bowl game for the Irish, with a much grander stage awaiting in December if they continue to win. ✦

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