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Boston College quarterback Dan Shiniskie

Preview: It's holy war as Notre Dame takes on Boston College

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Boston College quarterback Dan Shiniskie

Notre Dame’s next opponent:  Boston College Golden Eagles (5-2)

Ah yes, and then there’s the Holy War: A rather recent rivalry (began in 1975) between the nation’s only Division I-A Catholic schools. Winner gets the Ireland Trophy. 

And just like the Notre Dame- USC rivalry, the Irish have been getting dominated as of late; they’re on a six game losing streak to those pesky Eagles from Chestnut Hill.  I mean, come on, something’s got to give here!

Offense:

The Eagles offense is about as scary as Golden Retriever puppy dog.  Well, on the road anyway.  BC averages 10 points per game away from their home turf, and have gotten blown out in both away games (at Clemson, at Virginia Tech).  It’s at home where they morph into an offensive machine and don’t lose games (5-0 at BC). 

But, luckily for the Eagles, the Irish defense is as soft as that same Golden Retriever puppy dog I was just talking about.  BC’s quarterback is 25-year-old freshman Dave Shinskie.  He’s a big dude (6’2, 220 lbs) and is pretty much a statue under center.  They don’t trust him to throw it more than 30 times a game, but when he does, he likes to throw it deep.  However, I’ve seen him freeze like a deer in headlights when pressure is coming.        

The guy who will beat you is sophomore running back Montel Harris.  He absolutely lit up the North Carolina State Wolfpack last week.  Get this: 27 carries, 264 rush yards and five touchdowns.  Thanks to that performance, he’s totaled 756 yards and 10 touchdowns on the season.

Defense:

Nothing here that good ol’ boy Jimmy Clausen and the Irish offense can’t take care of.  Opponents are averaging 21 points against BC’s D, however none have had the firepower that ND has.  They’re letting up 118 yards on the ground and 212 yards through the air per game, which presents a green light special for the Blue and Gold.    

Without question the leader on the Eagle’s defense is freshman linebacker Luke Kuechly.  He leads the team in tackles (69, the next closest has 33) and is second on teams in tackles- for- loss (6).  He’s a house in the middle of the field, and I could see him matching up with TE Kyle Rudolph. 

The defensive line isn’t that nasty, but they do have speed.  Alex Albright and Jim Ramella come off the ends and cannot be overlooked.  They only have two sacks between them but they can shrink the pocket quickly if taken lightly. 

Special Teams:

BC’s placekicker Steve Aponavicius is 6-6 on field goals this season, yet his long is 37 yards.  WR Rich Gunnell takes care of the punt return duties and has been pretty successful with it.  He took one to the house earlier in the season and averages 15 yards per return. 

Names you'll hear on Saturday:

Montel Harris, RB:  As I've mentioned, he's coming off his best game of his young career.  ND's run defense hasn't been terrible, but he has the talent to cahnge that.

Colin Larmond Jr., WR:  Leads the team in receiving yards (364 yards) and his 6'3 frame could present a mismatch for the Irish secondary.

Luke Kuechly, LB:  You'll hear his name frequently when the Irish are on offense.  He's a beast to the ball and you can bet he'll be motivated for this one. 

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