Through nine games, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have defeated all comers, many of whom came in highly ranked. Meanwhile, at two and seven, the Boston College Eagles enter having only beaten a pair of M & M‘s (Maine and Maryland) and come in merely rank.
Do the Eagles even stand a chance?
On paper, the answer is no. Although Eagle quarterback, Chase Rettig, has thrown for over 2,500 yards this season, the BC running game, at under 75 yards per contest, is ranked 118th in the country. This one-dimensional attack should allow Notre Dame, the nation’s second-leading scoring defense, to rush Rettig with abandon, and his eight interceptions and 22 sacks could increase dramatically Saturday night.
Meanwhile, Irish QB Everett Golson‘s passing isn’t quite as prolific as his opponent’s, but he has now proved he can not only beat the big boys like Oklahoma, but lead a big comeback “what though the odds be great or small,” as he did against Pittsburgh.
In addition, the balanced Irish offense is currently averaging 200.3 rushing yards per game and 204.1 passing yards per game. Only two Notre Dame offenses have averaged at least 200 rushing yards and 200 passing yards in the same season–the 1970 team that finished the season No. 2 in the nation and the 1977 National Championship team.
In other words, Notre Dame’s unpredictable attack is tough enough for top teams to defend, but is nearly impossible for a struggling team to stop.
Yet where there is history, there is hope. If Notre Dame starts fast with a few quick scores, the game is over in the first quarter. But if turnovers, penalties and mediocre Irish special team play allow the Eagles to hang around until halftime, a rousing speech and a hopped-up home crowd could make these underdog Eagles believe.
At that point, who’s to say they might not play not just the game of their season, but of their career and lifetime, so they could play and replay for their children and children’s children the day they beat 9-0 Notre Dame and ruined their National Title hopes?
Manti Te’o, that’s who. After a rather pedestrian (by his standards) seven-tackle performance against Pitt, Te’o simply won’t allow another letdown against a strong-willed, but weak opponent.
Final score: Notre Dame 38, Boston College 10.