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Irish Receivers Take Center Stage – Boston College Game Recap

The Irish capped off another perfect home season on Saturday with a 40-7 victory over the Eagles of Boston College.  This marks Notre Dame’s 18th consecutive home win and improves the Irish to 9-2 on the season.  Notre Dame has beaten all seven teams that have had a bye week leading into their matchup with the Irish and for the third game in a row, both the defense and offense (eventually) were firing on all cylinders.

Notre Dame’s offense seemed to come out of the gate a bit flat which hasn’t been the case recently.  Although the Irish were able to get points on the board on five of their first seven possessions, four of those occasions were field goals and only one was a touchdown.  Irish kicker, Jonathan Doerer hit all four of his kicks on Saturday with a long coming in at 47 yards.  Arguably one of the first half MVPs, Doerer’s ability to knock in these field goals helped the momentum from swinging in Boston College’s favor and kept the Irish on the board and in the lead for almost all of the first half.  After this flat start by the offense, it looked as though the necessary adjustments were made and the rest was history – Notre Dame took off and never gave the Eagles any hopes of being able to come back.  Ian Book threw for 239 yards and three touchdowns and for the fourth week in a row, was the team’s leading rusher with an additional 66 yards on the ground.  Although Tony Jones Jr. and Braden Lenzy both tacked on another 61 yards rushing each, it was the Notre Dame passing game that took center stage.  Cole Kmet, Chris Finke, and Chase Claypool all tallied seven receptions and one touchdown a piece.  It is nice to finally see that Notre Dame is taking advantage and exploiting these matchups when they know they have bigger, more physical, and more athletic receiving options than who they are matching up against on the defense.  One offensive concern that has still arisen is the number of procedure penalties that take place, especially early in the game.  I don’t understand how or what is continually causing the Irish players to jump for false starts especially during games at home, but this is something that needs to be addressed before any bowl matchups this year.  At this point in the season, I feel like this is not something that a team of Notre Dame’s caliber should be struggling with.

Defensively, this was another stellar performance from the Irish.  Boston College came into Saturday’s matchup with the fifth ranked rushing attack in the country and was held to 128 yards on 43 attempts – an average of only three yards per carry.  For a team that relies so heavily on the run, when that gets taken away, there was clearly not much that the Eagles could do to get themselves back in the game.  The Eagles finished the game with only 191 yards of total offense and all the credit goes to the Irish defense there.  Ade Ogundeji and Alohi Gilman lead the team with five tackles each while Asmar Bilal, Drew White, and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah added another four each.  Kyle Hamilton came up with the Irish’s lone interception and continues to show his range and athleticism on the back end of the Notre Dame defense.  I would also like to give some praise to Bo Bauer who has looked like a madman on special teams.  If he can translate that style of play to the linebacker position when he gets more significant playing time in the upcoming seasons, he is going to be another exciting athlete for Irish fans to watch.  With an injury to Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, Notre Dame’s depth on the defensive line seems to continually be tested.  Brian Kelly seemed to hint at the fact that the injury wasn’t as serious as it looks, stating it was more of a soft tissue injury, so the early reports show that Tagovailoa-Amosa shouldn’t be out for any significant length of time.  The Notre Dame defense, and its multitude of outstanding performances recently, has been able to carry the offense when things are sputtering a bit on that side of the ball, keeping us in just about every game.

At this point in the season, Notre Dame is officially ranked as both a top six scoring offense and defense.  With Saturday’s Senior Day contest marking the end of an era for a class that has been special for the Fighting Irish, the seniors who ran out of the tunnel for the last time at Notre Dame stadium will undoubtedly be missed.  When this senior class were Freshmen, the endured the 4-8 season and have risen to the point where it looks like nine to ten wins is now the new expectation for Notre Dame football.  That is not an easy turnaround for anyone to accomplish.  With the changes in the coaching staff throughout the early parts of their Notre Dame careers, this senior class has continued to build upon the Notre Dame tradition and has laid the groundwork for more successful seasons to come.  After taking down the Eagles, the Irish are now onto the final game of the regular season as they will travel to Palo Alto, California to take on Stanford this upcoming Saturday.  As winning at Stanford has been a challenge in recent years for the Irish, the Cardinal are the last obstacle standing between Notre Dame and another 10 win season.