Coming into their game against Boston College, Notre Dame and Brian Kelly were searching for answers. I’m not sure how many of them were answered on Saturday, at least in the first half. However, the Irish pulled away in the second, winning 49-20 over Boston College.
The Irish wanted to hit the gas pedal on the offensive side of the ball early and often in the first half. It just never came to fruition.
In fact, in that regard the first half was exactly the opposite. For much of the first 30 minutes, an inexperienced offensive line for Boston College kept the Notre Dame defense on its heels.
The first half just wasn’t what Brian Kelly wanted. They were uninspired, lacked motivation, and we’re going through the motions. I struggle to recall a team with this much experience struggle this badly. Brandon Wimbush continued to overthrow receivers, there were three to Equanimeous St. Brown that left many of us wondering just what the hell was going on?
Meanwhile, Brown made a ton of great decisions with the football; the coaching staff was able to limit mistakes by throwing under coverage. He found Charlie Callinan 4 times for 56 yards and a score in the first half. Jon Hillman finished the first half with 94 yards on 16 carries.
I tell you if it weren’t for two 65-yard carries by Josh Adams, Boston College may have had the lead. Adams finished the first half with 167 yards on 9 carries. That’s 18.6 yards a carry. Absolute stud.
Somehow the Irish were able to find the end zone again after the second 65-yard carry by Adams, taking a 14-10 lead into halftime.
After a fumble on the first possession of the half, Boston College connected on a field goal to cut the lead to 14-13 early in the third quarter.
The third quarter started much the same for the Fighting Irish offense. A fumble, a three and out, followed by a short punt gave Boston College the ball just shy of the 50.
A replay upheld a 15-yard catch and the Eagles were off and running. They kept the Fighting Irish defense on the field time and time again. However, needing a spark, the Fighting Irish defense held on a 4th and 1, giving the ball back to the offense.
Finally the Irish got a breakthrough on 3rd and 10. Wimbush got loose for 46 yards down the sidelines, setting up 1st and Goal. I will say this, after only 2 catches last week, Equanimeous St. Brown has gone completely MIA. He had one catch for 3 yards through three quarters against Boston College.
After Josh Adams came out holding his right knee, Tony Jones Jr. came in and ran it into the end zone giving the Irish a 21-13 lead. At the point of his apparent injury, Adams had 189 yards on 15 carries. That’s a pretty good afternoon, and there was more to come.
Defense steps up
Notre Dame was then able to capitalize on a Shaun Crawford interception, with Adams breaking loose for 36 yards, followed by Wimbush connecting with Durham Smythe for 33 yards setting up first and goal. Wimbush then ran it into the end zone for his third touchdown of the game on the ground.
The interception from Anthony Brown was only the second pass over top of the Irish defense on the day and Shaun Crawford was able to wrestle it away. Up until that point he had been pretty good with the football. For the second week in a row the Irish couldn’t get to a freshman quarterback.
Other than the fumble, and ensuing field goal, the Irish defense played pretty good football in the third quarter. The offense really started to click, and the offensive line started moving Boston College off the football.
The Irish held a 157 to 58 edge in total yards in the third quarter, also outscoring Boston College 14-3. Really a tale of two halves for the Fighting Irish. Brandon Wimbush as I was writing this gets loose for a 65-yard touchdown. His fourth on the day. 19 rushes for 170 yards, to go with the four touchdowns. That’s the most by a quarterback in school history. Pretty impressive on the ground for the young quarterback.
Boston College found a way to get Charlie Callinan his second touchdown of the day, cutting the Irish deficit to 15. Midway through the 4th quarter, it was upheld by replay, even though the ball came out upon hitting the ground.
Notre Dame recovered a fumble on the Eagles next possession. In which Dexter Williams finally got in on the action with a 3-yard touchdown run, giving the Irish a 22-point lead once again, 42-20.
It was an all-around second half for the Notre Dame team. Wimbush erupted for 207 yards rushing on 21 attempts, to go with the four touchdowns. However, he wasn’t nearly as effective through the air, finishing 11 of 24 for 96 yards and 1 interception.
Adams gashed the Boston College defense for 229 yards on 18 attempts. Dexter Williams logged two rushing touchdowns, and the Irish offense much like they did against Temple, ran over Boston College.
Winning on the road by 29 is hard in any environment, but the Irish were able to turn it on in the second half. Sometimes a win can catapult a team for the rest of the season, but the Irish have to play better then they did in the first half against BC.
For now the seats have cooled a bit for Brian Kelly. On to Michigan St. Saturday night.