There were plenty of intriguing narratives to choose from entering Saturday’s game: a history of BC upsetting Notre Dame, a potential trap game after a big win, the Red Bandanna Game, Phil Jurkovec against his former school, the Holy War, etc. All of that drama fizzled fairly quickly, as Ian Book and his Notre Dame offense imposed their will on Boston College, and defeated the Eagles 45-31, preserving their undefeated season in convincing fashion. The Eagles drop to 5-4 with two games remaining.
BC held the Irish to a field goal on their first drive, but it was immediately clear that ND wasn’t going to have much trouble moving the football. By game’s end, they had amassed 557 yards, with an impressively balanced 283 passing and 274 rushing. Though they turned it over three times, ND was not forced to punt all game.
Book out-dueled his former backup, finishing 20 of 27 for 283 yards, 3 TDs and 0 INTs through the air, along with 85 yards and a TD on the ground. Jurkovec finished 18 of 40 for 272 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT.
Jurkovec got off to a hot start against his old team, as the Eagles picked up first downs on their first three plays from scrimmage. Under duress on 2nd and goal from the ND 4, Jurkovec threw an off balance floater to the back of the end zone. The ball was several feet behind Zay Flowers, but he was able to make an athletic adjustment and haul it in to put BC up 7-3.
Notre Dame then botched a hand off on the first play of their next drive, the first of three Irish lost fumbles. It led to a quick three-and-out for the BC offense, but Aaron Boumerhi knocked in a 41 yard field goal to make it 10-3.
The Irish needed only 8 plays to cover 77 yards and tie the game on their next possession, a drive that concluded with a touchdown pass that Ben Skowronek plucked out of the air above Brandon Sebastian in the corner of the end zone. Jurkovec hit Jaelan Gill for a 34 yard completion on the next drive, and two plays later a QB keeper brought the Eagles to the ND 12. But BC settled for another field goal, taking a 13-10 lead.
Coach Hafley then rolled the dice with an onside kick attempt that BC recovered, however a replay review found that Travis Levy made contact with a Notre Dame player too early, and BC was forced to kick it deep. That penalty proved costly, as the Irish orchestrated another quick scoring drive, this time 6 plays 75 yards. The Eagles had a chance to get off the field on 3rd and 10, but Book hit Avery Davis for a 48 yard completion to the BC 2. C’Bo Fleminster’s punched it in to go up 17-13.
After a BC three-and-out, Notre Dame again breezed past the BC defense. The Book to Skowronek connection struck again, staking ND a 24-13 lead. For the second time in the half, a long completion from Jurkovec to Gill put the Eagles in the red zone. Yet again, they settled for a Boumerhi field goal.
Notre Dame then coughed up possession for a second time, but BC gave it right back when Alec Lindstrom snapped the ball too early, and his unsuspecting quarterback couldn’t react fast enough to snag it. The Irish took advantage, as Book found Skowronek for the hat trick in the final seconds of the half to take a commanding 31-16 lead.
BC put together a strong drive to start the second half, but they were unable to convert on 4th & 1 from the ND 8. From there, it was a bit of a mess. Skowronek committed Notre Dame’s third fumble, but Jurkovec promptly threw an interception which led to Flemister’s second touchdown rush.
The Eagles answered with a 12 play, 80 yard drive that ended on a David Bailey touchdown run that nudged BC a bit closer. However, the Irish again charged down the field, punctuating a 7 play 70 yard drive with a 6 yard Book touchdown run.
BC tried to hang around in the 4th quarter. After a missed ND field goal, the Eagles drove down and scored on an 8 yard pass from Jurkovec to Long, and Travis Levy ran in the two point attempt to cut the Irish lead to 45-31. Penalties nullified their onside kick try, and Notre Dame ran out the remainder of the clock to seal the win.