After a hard-fought first half, Boston College was overwhelmed in the second, and handily fell to #15 Notre Dame 40-7 in South Bend.
The Eagle defense was certainly in for a challenge against Notre Dame’s highly ranked offense and held their own for much of the first half. The defense forced a punt and two field goals on its first three tries, and gave the offense enough attempts to take the lead. Clearly aided by the return of linebacker Isaiah McDuffie, it was the defense that kept the game close in the first half. However, the 35 minutes of possession for the Irish offense wore them down and the offense could not answer.
The Eagles fifth ranked rushing offense entering the game only managed 128 rushing yards and one touchdown. AJ Dillon only had 14 carries for 56 yards and Bailey added 10 carries for 26 yards.
Quarterback Dennis Grosel did not have his best performance after really showing improvement his last two games. He turned the ball over twice, one fumble and an interception, and only completed nine passes on 20 attempts. He was also sacked four times and dealt with much more pressure than he’d been accustomed to of late. He totaled 63 yards against a top rated Notre Dame pass defense, most of which came on one great pass to Kobay White that brought him down at the one. Grosel ran the ball in a few plays later to give the Eagles their first and only lead of the day. That 84 yard drive was well orchestrated with some grind-it-out kind of runs from Dillon, Bailey, and Grosel, but the offense was never able to duplicate this feat.
The Fighting Irish answered with their own 15 play, 75 yard touchdown drive to take the 13-7 lead with 2:48 left in the half. They later extended the lead with yet another field after getting the ball back in the last minute of the half.
Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book was excellent on the day. He evaded pressure, made key throws, and extended drives with his legs. He ended 26/40 for 239 yards and three touchdowns. He added 12 carries for 66 yards on the ground to lead everyone in rushing.
The second half quickly got out of hand for the Eagles, as they managed only 53 yards of offense in the second half. Two quick three and outs and a Dennis Grosel fumble on a keeper led to 10 quick points for the Fighting Irish to extend the lead to 26-7. The next series ended in another punt, after BC curiously passed on three straight plays after having picked up a first down on two carries by Dillon. Two of those passes were dropped, but Notre Dame took over, and dropped the hammer on one, quick 61-yard play.
The remainder of the game was more of the same. The Boston College offense just couldn’t get anything going. Grosel saw his pass telegraphed by star freshman safety Kyle Hamilton early in the fourth quarter, and that effectively ended his night. He had one more possession before backup Matt Valecce took over to end the game.
The Eagles are now 5-6 with one game remaining in the regular, possibly the entire, season. They take on Pitt next week on the road in their last chance to obtain an automatic bowl game. (Pitt is currently getting shutout by Virginia Tech FYI).