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Holy War: Boston College

We expect the Eagles offensive line to be outmatched, as such, the Boston College offense will struggle to put significant points on the board.

The 2019 Fighting Irish appear to be back on track after two near-perfect performances against Duke and Navy, and are hopeful to keep that momentum rolling this Saturday on Senior Day when 5-5 Boston College comes to South Bend. Brian Kelly and his men are hopeful for a 10-2 season and a quality bowl win. To do this, the Irish will have to maintain their edge despite numerous injuries to key starters,and most recently, star rush end, Julian Okwara.

Boston College will come to town fighting for bowl eligibility and with head coach Steve Addazio making the case that he should keep his job. The Eagles have a very capable run-first offense led by running back AJ Dillon, who is arguably one of the top 5 backs in the country and is averaging 145 yards per game. Dillon’s relief, sophomore David Bailey, is also a quality back who is difficult to bring down. Boston College has relied on these two bruisers to wear down defenses as the game progresses, and have used this strategy with much success. In fact, they are statistically one of the better offenses in the country and average 33 points per game despite losing their starting quarterback, Anthony Brown, earlier in the season. His replacement, sophomore Dennis Grosel, has been a capable replacement, and is able to keep defenses honest with play-action passes.

Nov 16, 2019; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Ian Book (12) readies for the snap in the second quarter against the Navy Midshipmen at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

In contrast to the Eagle’s quality offense, their defense has struggled greatly and is extremely young, after having lost 8 starters from 2018. Indeed, the Eagles defense is giving up an average of 32 points per game, and suffered the indignity of losing to Kansas at home, 48-24. With this in mind, Saturday should be another opportunity for Ian Book and the company to continue to make progress and put up some more big numbers both through the air and on the ground. Interestingly, in his weekly press conference, Brian Kelly discussed some new practice techniques they have implemented to help Book progress as a quarterback over the past month. Specifically, instead of running scripted plays, they are making the offense run in an unscripted, scrimmage like environment which forces Book to go through his receiver progressions. Considering the talent advantage the Irish offense has, they should have little trouble putting points on the board against Boston College.

On the Irish defensive side of the ball, the Dos Leprechaun writers feel like last week’s Navy game will have been good preparation for the defensive front seven to be physical and aggressive to stop Boston College’s running attack. The key to last week’s effort was aggression and penetration into the backfield by Irish defensive lineman and linebackers. We expect the Eagles offensive line to be outmatched, as such, the Boston College offense will struggle to put significant points on the board. The key to victory will be to slow down the run game and for Book and his playmakers to put lots of points on the board. We suspect Boston College run game will eventually find the endzone a couple of times in the second half, but this contest will never be in doubt.

Notre Dame 44 Boston College 20

–Patrick McCormick

#BostonCollege #dosleprechauns

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