It’s a 2:30pm kickoff at Notre Dame Stadium for the 25th meeting between BC and Notre Dame. The Irish have won the last six games against us dating back to 2009 (2012 game vacated). Overall series is 15-9 Notre Dame du-Lame, with zero ties curiously. Perhaps tomorrow could be the day.
Notre Dame is sitting at 8-2 on their Senior Day and coming off two easy wins over Duke and then #23 Navy, after poor performances against Michigan and Virginia Tech the weeks prior. BC, of course, is 5-5 and losers of four the last six. Notre Dame is looking to get a New Years’ Six game, while BC just hopes for an automatic bid.
On offense, Dennis Grosel has found his groove these last two games especially, going 28/39 for 422 yards, five touchdowns and one interception. He finally had a chance to really throw the ball last week, and he’ll need to take advantage of any opportunity he can get against the Irish top-5 passing defense. If they overcommit to the run, maybe Grosel can find some openings.
Run defense, however, has not been their strong suit this season (79th), but they will be clearly honing in on the BC rushing attack, just like literally every team we play. Having dealt with Navy’s triple option last week, perhaps they won’t be as adequately prepared to handle a normal rushing attack. Navy had nearly 300 yards rushing, but turnovers quickly ended any hope of coming back in the game. Luckily, BC doesn’t turn it over much (well, except on downs and missed field goals). It’s true BC has a top-10 rushing offense, but Notre Dame will have more than enough confidence in their secondary to focus all of their efforts on stopping Dillon & David and even Grosel. They have a good, strong-tackling linebacking corps that might be able to contain them both. Perhaps AJ can channel some energy from his grandfather, former Notre Dame wide receiver and College Football Hall of Famer, Thom Gatewood, who will be decked out in all-EAGLES garb. AJ had 16 rushes for 58 yards in his third collegiate game (but Jon Hilliman had 122 yards on 22 carries). He’s come a long way from then, and this is one of his last stops to add to the record books.
Offensively for the Fighting Irish, well, let’s just say we’re going to have some trouble. Quarterback Ian Book has been crushing it since running in for the game winner against Virginia Tech three weeks ago. Nine touchdowns in two games, and plenty of yards both in the air and on the ground. He torched Duke for 139(!) rushing. Tyler Murphy, is that you? I have no doubt in my mind elite wide receiver Chase Claypool will score at least one 50+ yard touchdown, safety help or not (probably not). Fine, it might not be him, but Notre Dame has too much speed on the outside to contend with, and BC has showed zero penchant for stopping these downfield plays.
We’ll have to keep an eye out for injuries, seeing how healthy the likes of David Bailey, Hunter Long, and others are, and especially how much Isaiah McDuffie gets to play after seeing his first bit of action last game on a few snaps. Touchdown Jesus knows how much we need his help. Time to pull our all the stops in this one. That being said:
Spread: ND -20.5
Straight: BC +845 (do it, you won’t) / ND -1380 (do it, you won’t)
What sort of BC attire will Doug Flutie don?:
Socks +250, Tie +350, Lapel +450, Field (+750), None, he’s a neutral commentator (+1000)
Even with some seniors surely seeing game action at the end of this one, BC will struggle to keep up. We’re not built to come from behind, and any early lead will spell immediate doom. I fear no backdoor cover.
Staff Predictions (Three very different outlooks):
Niraj: 42 ND - 14 BC
Grant: 41 BC - 39 ND
Unclear who will be crying at the end
This is a stretch, but I had to try: