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Sean O'Shea column / The soft side of ND football Coach Charlie Weis / Click here

We’re seven games in and I’m still not sure if what the Fighting Irish are doing is amazing, or amazingly mediocre; whether they’re just not that good, or simply playing to the level of their competition. I’m going to hesitantly choose the latter in hope of pushing some buttons. 


Not too much to see here, except of course for Golden Tate. Does he ever have a bad game? Tate finished with a season high in receptions (11), is now third in the nation in receiving yards (847) and second with eight touchdown receptions. And it looked like he was limping around the entire afternoon! It’s only a matter of time till his name and Heisman are uttered in the same sentence.

It seemed at first that the Irish were going to run the ball down BC’s throat all game. They came out and blasted the Eagles with hard rushes from Allen, but abandoned it pretty quickly. Allen finished with 98 yards on only 21 rushes and Clausen ended up heaving the ball 39 times for 246 yards.   

The Wildcat that has been a pleasant surprise for the Irish, was anything but that on Saturday. Hughes was stopped short of the goal line after he took a direct snap on fourth down. A play call that is certainly questionable from the 2-yard line. 

Scoring 20 points against the BC defense is nothing to be thrilled about. But I guess you can cheer if the other team score one less. Grade: B-


Montell Harris who? BC’s rushing game was given a thorough beating on Saturday. There’s no doubt the Irish run defense is doing their part. They held the speedy Harris to 38 yards; a mere 1.7 yards per carry. 

The pass defense? Not so much. They were atrocious, really. They made Dave Shinskie look like Drew Brees. He was shredding the Irish defensive backs. There was no pressure and no one present in the middle of the field. It’s getting tough to watch to say the least. 

But the defense can be commended for one thing. They forced five turnovers (three picks, and two fumble recoveries). None bigger than Brian Smith’s pick with the game on the line.    Grade: C+

Special Teams:

Nick Tausch was perfect on his only two attempts. Ben Turk kept busy, punting it six times, the most in his young career. 

They called another fake field goal which looked great and went for a touchdown, but was negated by a blatant holding penalty. Grade:  B


The Irish need to win out the rest of the way to be in contention for an at-large BCS bid. They didn’t play their best ball but started the second half of the season the way they wanted to, by collecting a W.   

But most importantly, they ended their embarrassing six game losing streak to Boston College. Grade: B