In what has become known in college football as “The Holy War”, No. 4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9-0) will square off against the Boston College Eagles (2-7) this Saturday at Alumni Stadium at Chestnut Hill. The Kickoff is scheduled for 8 pm ET and will be broadcast on your local ABC affiliate.
The Fighting Irish are coming off a triple overtime thriller over The Pittsburgh Panthers, 24-23 last week in South Bend to remain undefeated this season. Against fellow ACC denizens, Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Boston College easily won 28-14. The 2011 Holy War ended in an Irish win 16-14 at Notre Dame Stadium. QB Tommy Rees passed for 256 yards and Cierre Wood rushed for 94 in the winning effort.
Boston College and Notre Dame are the lone two Catholic colleges in the BCS and share a special bond dating back to their first meeting in 1975. This highly anticipated matchup has also been dubbed “The Bingo Bowl” as well as “The Celtic Bowl” and the spoils to the victor include the Ireland trophy and Frank Leahy Memorial Bowl. The Fighting Irish hold a 12-9 all-time series lead and have some momentum going into Saturday having won the last three.
As Notre Dame takes the field on Saturday the 1993 and 2002 undefeated teams will be on everybody’s minds. Both Fighting Irish squads were undefeated and ranked in the top 10 deep into the season before being beaten and upset by Boston College.
Aware of BC playing the role of spoiler and despite its poor record and lone game played against a BCS opponent, Fighting Irish Coach Brian Kelly will not take the Eagles lightly
"I told the football team that they had the heart of a champion in the way that they battled through triple overtime," Kelly said. "But now ... we've got to have the head of a champion, too. The head of a champion to understand that each and every week you're going to get the opposition's very best.
Here is how the Matchup is shaping up for this year’s Holy War on Saturday.
Notre Dame Offense
Starting QB Everett Golson was as efficient with his arm, passing for 227 yards and two touchdowns as he was with his legs, rushing for 74 yards and the 1-yard score that secured the Fighting Irish victory in the third overtime. He was rewarded for his extraordinary effort by being recognized as the FBS Independent Schools offensive player of the week. Golson’s seven consecutive wins to start his nascent Notre Dame career rank him fourth all-time in school’s history.
RBs Cierre Wood (537 yds., 3 TDs, 6.3 avg) and Theo Riddick (610 yds., 4.5 avg., 4 TDs) should have a field day against a BC defense giving up 232.2 yards rushing per game.
Sophomore WR DeVaris Daniels (7 receptions, 86 yards) caught a key 45-yard bomb from Golson to set up Notre Dame’s game tying drive. All-American TE Tyler Eifert and leading Fighting Iridsh receiver (403 yds. 3 TDs) finished the day with a solid 60-yards receiving.
Despite missing key field goals Notre Dame kicker Kyle Brindza still is ranked sixth in the nation with 17 field goals and ranked sixth all-time in Notre Dame history.
Notre Dame Defense
All-American LB Mant T’eo rose to the occasion yet again collecting two sacks and eight tackles. DE Stephon Tuitt stepped up his game with 1.5 sacks upping his total to 10 on the season. Tuitt leads the team in sacks and is ranked fifth in the nation.
The team recorded a season-high 5 sacks last week. Look for another sack-heavy day for the blue and gold against a weak Boston College Offesnive Line that has surrendered 7 sacks over the past two games.
The nations 10th best defense should feast on an Eagle offense with 18 turnovers this season including 4 in last weeks win over Wake Forest.
At 11.9 points per game Notre Dame is second in the nation in points allowed.
Boston College Offense
The Eagles QB is no lightweight. Junior Chase Retting has impressive stats: 2556 yards, 56.4% completion rate, 15 TDs, and a 128.5% QB rating. He ranks 27th in the country.
WR Alex Amidon is Retting’s top target amassing 67 receptions, 1073 yards, and 6 TDs. His 119.2 receiving yards per game ranks this Eagle 5th in the nation.
Junior RB Andre Williams’ 584 yards rushing, 4 TDs, and 4.5 Avg paces BC’s ground attack. The team has racked up only 20 rushing yards in the past two games and Williams left last week’s game with an injury.
Boston College ranks among the worst teams in 3rd down conversions and scoring in the red zone.
Boston College Defense
This porous defense ranks among the lowest of the ACC giving up 477.4 yards per game.
It fields a solid corps of LBs including Nick Clancy who is 3rd in the nation with 103 tackles and third in the nation with 11.89 tackles per game. Steele Divitto has ecorded 75 tackles himself and over 8 a game. He has also broken up three passes and forced one fumble.
Prediction; Notre Dame 28 Boston College 10