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Boston College vs Notre Dame: Fighting Irish Team Preview

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 14 Notre Dame at Boston College Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

BC goes to take on another ranked opponent, on the road, on their Senior Day, with #18 Notre Dame. Notre Dame currently sits at 7-3 and are riding a four-game winning streak.

It was a very precarious start for Marcus Freeman in this first year on the job. After a fairly competitive first game against Ohio State, they had an absolute stinker at home against Marshall and just scraped by against Cal. Another terrible home loss to Stanford just last month, and things could have easily gone haywire. But since then, they’ve really started producing results, juicing the likes of Syracuse and Clemson to put themselves back in the polls.

Fightin’ Offense

The biggest issue has been the ineptitude of the offense. Drew Pyne, cousin of BC offensive lineman Kevin Pyne, took the starting job a few games into the season (mostly due to injury). While it was an up and down start for Pyne, OC Tommy Rees has simplified the offense of late and they’ve found their groove. They’ve now scored over 35 points in each of the past four games, after only hitting that mark once in the first six games.

The redshirt sophomore Pyne has now played in nine games, completing 63.1% of his passes for 1,547 yards with 18 touchdowns to only five interceptions. Still, he’s had uneven performances. Last week against Navy, he started off hot with five total touchdowns 234 yards passing, but tailed off dramatically. He held on to the ball too long and didn’t see the whole field. This allowed Navy to stage a comeback.

One thing he is not exactly, is a dual-threat though. He’s ran for 115 yards and two touchdowns on the season. They do have a solid rushing attack though. Audric Estime and Logan Diggs have each carried the ball 125 times, combining for nearly 1300 yards. Chris Tyree offers the primary change of pace angle, and has caught 18 passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns. Those main two backs ran right through Clemson for 266 yards, but flopped for only 66 against the Midshipmen.

As usual, it’s a big offensive line that’s allowed 17 sacks, most very much not on them. They struggled in the second half of the Navy game, but have been by and large very good. They’ve been monsters in the run game.

On the receiving end, it all starts with the All-American Michael Mayer. Mayer has more than double the production of anyone on their team. He has 54 catches, 647 yards, and seven touchdowns, and the size, strength, and blocking ability is on full display. Almost everything goes through the future first rounder.

Outside off him, there may be talent but not so much in terms of production. Lorenzo Styles Jr. has 306 yards on 26 catches, and Jayden Thomas and Braden Lenzy are not too far behind. The senior Lenzy has a lot of speed and did have that electric catch last week you may have seen last weekend:

Dame Defense

This is a very good defense with a whole bunch of veterans. While they’ve had some inconsistent play of their own, they’re by and large a force to be reckoned with. A bit of a fluky Navy game aside, only two other teams have scored more than 25 points, UNC and Marshall.

On the defensive line, it’s a big group. Isaiah Foskey leads the team with a whopping 8 sacks to lead a strong pass rush. There is some susceptibility in their run defense, but well . . . you know. This team prevented Clemson from getting into the red zone until the fourth quarter of the game.

The linebacking corps is a bit injured at the moment with their two leading tacklers, JD Bertrand and Jack Kiser, potentially out, but they had some younger players step up last week.

On the back end, not too many takeaways, but they don’t allow too many passing yards (27th). But when it mattered most, Benjamin Harrison, the team leader with two, picked off DJ U and returned it 96 yards. The defense gets off the field on third down, only allowing a 33% conversion rate.

Additional News and Notes

This special teams has blocked a nation leading seven punts. BC’s special teams have been pretty lackluster, so if there isn’t special attention paid here, it’s going to be ugly. This has naturally let them have the best starting field position in the country. The kicking game has been shaky though, although that might not be a priority given:

Forecasts show very strong winds and exceptionally cold weather in South Bend. The snow looks like it’ll be done by then, but nearly a foot is expected leading up to it.

OC John McNulty, TE George Takacs return to their place of business from last season. McNulty coached the aforementioned Mayer, and Takacs was locked in behind him. Revenge game.

Notre Dame finishes the regular season with a trip to USC