Boston College did everything it said it had to do.
The Eagles won the turnover battle while the game was still in the balance against Notre Dame (2-1), and got improved play from redshirt freshman quarterback Anthony Brown. BC also saw running back Jon Hilliman cross 100 yards on the ground, and played outstanding special teams all around.
Boston College (1-2, 0-1 ACC) even held the Irish under 100 yards through the air on 11 of 24 passing.
None of it mattered.
That's because, while BC took small steps forward in all those areas, it took several big steps back when it came to stopping the run in a 49-20 loss to Notre Dame. The Irish absolutely bullied the Eagles, rushing for 515 yards and seven touchdowns, all on over 10 yards per carry. Quarterback Brandon Wimbush, who struggled mightily when he went to the air, had little trouble finding running room against the BC front seven, as he set a new single-game rushing record for Irish quarterbacks with 207 yards on the ground and four touchdowns.
Oh, and he wasn't even the game's leading rusher. That would be running back Josh Adams, who broke a pair of 50+ yard runs in the first half to set up Irish scores, both of them coming right up the middle, where the seas seemed to part for him.
Boston College was without star linebacker Connor Strachan, but the Eagles' issues were bigger than any one player. The middle of the BC defense showed little resistance, and when Wimbush got on the edges, there seemed to be infinite cutback lanes.
Another issue that will loom large is the role Harold Landry is playing for this team. Coach Steve Addazio has said repeatedly that he wants to keep his star pass rusher fresh for the end of games, and he played the nation's reigning sack king very sparingly today.
Landry played almost exclusively on third down, and when he did get in, his presence was rarely felt, only generating three hurries, and missing a tackle on a 65-yard Wimbush touchdown run.
BC fans are used to seeing their team lose in a certain way, but you can't pin this on bad quarterback play. Anthony Brown wasn't Tom Brady, but he showed growth from last week to this week. BC's rush offense also improved, as freshman Ben Petrula settled in at center, and the kicking game was perfect, with Colton Lichtenberg hitting both of his field goal attempts, and Mike Knoll pinning the Irish inside their own 20 on seven of his eight punts.
The secondary, which struggled last season, got a boost off the bench from Lukas Denis, who broke up a pair of passes, and came away with an interception, while Kam Moore and Isaac Yiadom both had great days in coverage.
When all those things come together, BC is supposed to win, not lose by four scores. It will be back to the drawing board yet again this week for Boston College, but the Eagles now have a whole new set of problems to deal with.