Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 25, 2017

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

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 27 of 55

28 SEPT. 25, 2017 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED IRISH FINISH STRONG The first 30 minutes of Notre Dame's 49‑20 win over Boston College was filled with plenty of sloppy play. Ju‑ nior quarterback Brandon Wimbush completed only 7 of 16 passes, and the offense went just 3 of 9 on third down. Defensively, Notre Dame allowed a Boston College offense that came in averaging just 3.19 yards per rush to rack up 117 yards on the ground and 4.5 yards per carry. It looked like that level of execution would continue for the Irish in the second half when the offense fum‑ bled the ball on the opening posses‑ sion, giving Boston College the foot‑ ball at the Irish 32‑yard line. A short punt following Notre Dame's next possession gave the Eagles the ball near midfield at its own 46‑yard line. Memories of Notre Dame's 2016 collapses were obvious, but the Irish proved they are not the same team. The defense held Boston College to a field goal following the fumble and stoned the Eagles on fourth‑and‑one after the short punt. "It's what I was hoping for relative to having fight," head coach Brian Kelly said. "We exhibited that fight in the sec‑ ond half in terms of the way we battled and took over the football game. "There weren't a lot of those oc‑ casions last year. That's what I was hoping for." Notre Dame dominated Boston College in the final two quarters, out‑ scoring the Eagles 35‑10 and outgain‑ ing them 340‑172 in total yards. "Great second half for Notre Dame, certainly," Kelly said. All‑American senior left guard Quenton Nelson and the Irish line took over the game in the second half. Notre Dame dominated a Boston College unit that finished the 2016 season ranked seventh nationally in rushing defense. "We started to execute more, hav‑ ing five‑for‑five, our five offensive lineman on the five guys we wanted to block," Nelson explained. "We started running the ball a little more consistently in the second half." Eventual national champion Clem‑ son rushed for 230 yards against Bos‑ ton College last year, the most rushing yards it allowed all season. Notre Dame racked up 297 yards on 29 attempts against the Eagles … in the second half. When senior linebacker Nyles Mor‑ gan and junior linebacker Te'von Co‑ ney stopped Boston College running back Jon Hilliman short on fourth‑and‑ one early in the third quarter it seemed to ignite the offense, which took off. "It's so special and so awesome for us," Nelson said of the fourth‑down stop. "We've counted on our defense a lot this year through all three games we've played. They've been playing to‑ gether and doing very well. … It's been special what they've been able to do. "We try to play for each other, the offense playing for the defense be‑ cause of how well they're playing." THIRD-DOWN DEFENSE PROVES IMPACTFUL Despite giving up a lot of yards early in the game, Notre Dame was able to limit Boston College to 10 points in the opening half thanks to its ability to get off the field on third down. The Irish held Boston College to just 4 of 17 on third‑down conver‑ sions, forcing eight punts. Third‑down defense was an area of major concern in 2016, with the Irish defense ranking 60th in the nation by allowing opponents to convert 39.0 percent of those opportunities. In 2014, the Irish ranked 79th in the country in third‑down defense, giv‑ ing up a 41.1 percent conversion rate. BOSTON COLLEGE GAME NOTES BY BRYAN DRISKELL The Irish defense limited Boston College to 4 of 17 (23.5 percent) on third-down conversions. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA MISCELLANEOUS NOTES • The 515 rushing yards by Notre Dame were the second most allowed by Boston Col- lege in its history, with only Army's 516 yards in 2012 surpassing the Irish effort. • In head coach Brian Kelly's first seven sea- sons, the Irish rushed for more than 400 yards just once, against UMass (457) on Sept. 26, 2015. In just three games this season, the Irish have already topped the 400-yard mark twice. They also had 422 yards in the opener against Temple. • Sophomore running back Deon McIntosh saw the field for the first time in his career. He rushed for 24 yards on four carries after he was inserted in the fourth quarter. • Freshman kicker Jonathan Doerer received his first start as the team's kickoff man after recovering from a fatigued leg during the Au- gust workouts. • Junior tight end Alizé Mack led Notre Dame with five catches in the game, a career-high mark. He had previously caught three apiece versus Georgia Tech, UMass and USC in 2015. • Fifth-year senior wide receiver Cameron Smith — a starter the first two games of the season — did not play against Boston College due to an injured ankle he sustained during practice the week before the game. • Sophomore running back Tony Jones Jr. was carted off the field late in the fourth quar- ter and needed an X-ray following the game, but there was no major damage.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - Sept. 25, 2017