[Photo]: Stephan Savoia, File/Associated Press – FILE – In this Oct. 2, 2010, file photo, Boston College quarterback Chase Rettig (7) looks to pass in his first start against Notre Dame in Boston.
The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame “ship up to Boston” this week to play the Eagles of Boston College at 8pm ET on ABC, Saturday, Nov 10.
You may wonder why a 9-0 Notre Dame team (favored by 19 points) is matched up with a 2-7 Boston College team in prime time? Well, for whatever reason, the Eagles of Boston College have a great knack for knocking Notre Dame down from high places. The last three times Notre Dame faced Boston College while ranked in the Top 10, the Irish came up miserably short. And in the last 20 years, Notre Dame has been undefeated twice heading into November match ups against Boston College. Both times the Eagles crushed the Irish hopes and chances of winning the national title.
Keep your eye on Notre Dame running back Cierre Wood on Saturday. In the past five games the senior running back has gained 442 yards, averaging 6.5 yards per carry. Wood does a great job at following his blockers and running in between the tackles. He leads an Irish three-headed rushing attack, also featuring Theo Riddick and George Atkinson III, that’s averaging more than 200 yards on the ground per game. With Boston College’s run defense being ranked 116th in FBS, Notre Dame will surely use this to their advantage and utilize their running game to its fullest potential.
Boston College wide receiver Alex Amidon will be a top target on Saturday and the Irish defense will need to make sure to contain him. Amidon has averaged more than 115 receiving yards per game this season and ranks in the top 5 nationally. He is known for his precise route-running and Irish cornerbacks KeiVarae Russell and Bennett Jackson must be prepared to defend explosive bursts and double moves from Amidon. He has six 100-plus yard games, which ties the school record. He was the ACC receiver of the week against Clemson on Oct. 1, with 193 receiving yards that week. This is the most yardage for a BC pass-catcher since Doug Flutie connected with Gerard Phelan for 226 yards in their 1984 victory over Miami (including the famous last-second Hail Mary pass).
While Notre Dame has an excellent arsenal of passing targets for quarterback Everett Golson including wide receivers Robby Toma, TJ Jones, and tight end Tyler Eiffert, DaVaris Daniels could also shine big on Saturday. The sophomore wide receiver is coming off his top game of the season with seven catches for 86 yards against Pitt. Not only did Daniels snag a crucial catch in OT of the Stanford game, he hauled in a clutch 45-yard catch on a game-tying drive in the final minutes of the Pitt game last week. In Coach Brian Kelly’s press conference on Tuesday, Kelly said that Daniels continues to improve with his route running.
Boston College will put all hopes of beating the Irish on Saturday on the shoulders of their quarterback, Chase Rettig. The Eagles have found themselves trailing in far too many games this season, relying on Rettig’s arm to try to close the deficit. In the last three games, Rettig has averaged more than 39 pass attempts per game. During the same stretch he also averaged more than 300 yards passing per game. Turnovers haven’t been much of a problem for Rettig in 2012, but he threw three last week in the Eagle’s loss to Wake Forest.
The key to an Irish win on Saturday is going turnover free. The Irish are 9-0 under Coach Kelly when they don’t commit a turnover, and they are 23-4 in their last 27 games when having a turnover free game. Notre Dame did its best to lose last week against the Pitt Panthers, committing three turnovers in that game.
The winner of Saturday’s match up receives two trophies: the Frank Leahy Memorial Bowl and the Ireland Trophy, both of which honor the schools’ shared history and tradition.