The Journal Gazette
Saturday, November 23, 2019 6:00 pm

Notre Dame beats Boston College, 40-7, fourth win in a row

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette


How it Happened

Notre Dame got the ball to open the game and picked up exactly where it left off against Navy: the first play from scrimmage was a 21-yard pass from Ian Book to Chris Finke, a perfectly-thrown ball that got the Irish moving. Notre Dame moved down the field with a combination of runs and short passes, easily punching into Boston College territory, even as Book had to run away from pressure on more than a few plays. On first down at the BC 30, however, Liam Eichenberg committed a false start penalty, putting the Irish behind the stick, and Notre Dame had to settle for a 47-yard Jonathan Doerer field goal, which the kicker nailed to make it 3-0.

After three straight punts, the Irish began driving again late in the first quarter. Book got the drive started with a 26-yard pass to Cole Kmet, who had a monster first half, and later added a 13-yard scramble inside the Boston College 15-yard line. On third-and-8 at the Eagle 11, Book tossed a short pass to Chase Claypool on a drag route over the middle. The big wide receiver seemed ready to walk into the end zone, but the ball hit his hands and he couldn't hang on. The Irish instead kicked another field goal and took a 6-0 lead.

That lead did not last, however, as Boston College bounced back with a methodical drive of its own. The Eagles picked up a string of third downs with quarterback scrambles and powerful runs by 6-foot, 250-pound tailback A.J. Dillon, moving into Notre Dame territory. At the Irish 40, quarterback Dennis Grosel dropped back and looked deep down the right side for Kobay White. White beat cornerback TaRiq Bracy and laid out for a terrific catch, sliding into the end zone. He was ruled down at the 1-yard line and three plays later Grosel faked out everyone and walked into the end zone to give the Eagles a 7-6 lead. The drive took 16 plays and 6:52 on the clock to cover 84 yards.

Notre Dame's offense suddenly found itself trailing, but the Irish weren't rattled. Some more short passes and runs, including a powerful 10-yard run from Tony Jones Jr. up the middle, moved the ball into Boston College territory. The drive looked like it might stall when ND faced a fourth-and-3 at the BC 24, but Chris Finke ran a quick out route and Book easily found him for a 6-yard gain and a first down. Three plays later, Book hit Claypool on a slant over the middle for an easy 6-yard touchdown, putting the Irish back on top 13-7.

Notre Dame got the ball back late in the half, thanks in large part to a sack from defensive lineman Ade Ogundeji, who had a monster performance. The Irish moved into field goal range after an 18-yard sprint from Jones through a huge hole in the line and another Doerer kick, this one from 45 yards away, made it 16-7 as the teams went into the locker rooms at halftime.

The Irish added another field goal midway through the third quarter to make it a 12-point lead and then the defense helped Notre Dame essentially put the game away. On the ensuing Boston College drive, Grosel tried to scramble around the right side, but defensive end Khalid Kareem shed a block and hit him hard, jarring the ball loose. Drew White pounced on the loose football at the BC 40 and Notre Dame took over again.

Notre Dame battered its way down the field from there without much trouble, getting 15 yards and on two carries from Jones, including a bruising 8-yard run to put the ball at the Boston College 11. On the next play, Kmet went in motion and then leaked out over the middle. He was left unguarded and Book lofted the ball into his tight end's hands for one of the easiest touchdown passes of his career, putting the Irish in front 26-7.

If that didn't seal the victory for Notre Dame, the next drive certainly did. The Irish took over at their own 39 after an Eagles punt and on the first play of the drive handed off to wide receiver Braden Lenzy on an end-around. Lenzy got the edge, high-stepped through one tackle, got a block on the outside and took off down the sideline. The former Oregon high school track star actually got caught from behind on the play, but it was as he tumbled over the goal line for a 61-yard touchdown, ballooning the margin to 33-7 late in the third quarter.

The Irish added another touchdown early in the fourth quarter following a Kyle Hamilton interception, the fourth of the season for the star true freshman. He returned it 25 yards, setting up the Irish in the red zone and Notre Dame punched it in with a 6-yard pass from Finke to Book in the back of the end zone. It was the last pass Book would throw in the game and put Notre Dame ahead 40-7. Phil Jurkovec played the rest of the afternoon.

Player of the Game: Ade Ogundeji

The Notre Dame defensive end, who stepped into a larger role with the injuries to Julian Okwara and Daelin Hayes had a career day. He racked up six tackles, including three for loss, and two sacks. He forced a fumble for good measure. The redshirt junior came into the game with 18 tackles, including 1 1/2 for loss and no sacks, all season. 

Facts and Figures

Notre Dame has won 18 consecutive home games dating back to the 2017 season, the third-longest win streak for the Irish at home since Notre Dame Stadium opened in 1930. They have posted two straight undefeated home schedules, including a 7-0 mark this season. Clemson and Ohio State are the only other Power Five teams that have active home win streaks of 17 games or more. ... It was Senior Day at Notre Dame Stadium and 30 seniors and graduate students were recognized prior to the game. ... The Irish have won eight straight games in November after going a combined 3-5 in the month in 2016 and 2017. ... Boston College came in 128th in the country in total defense, giving up 486.3 yards per game. Notre Dame rolled up 501 total yards, 252 on the ground and 249 in the air. ... The Irish have beaten Boston College in seven consecutive matchups dating back to 2009. Before that, the Eagles had won six straight meetings. ... In his last three games, Book has thrown 12 touchdowns and two interceptions. He had 295 total yards today, including 66 on the ground. ... Boston College running back A.J. Dillon came in averaging 145.1 rushing yards per game and had just 56 against the Irish. ... Notre Dame wore replica uniforms from its 1988 national championship team as part of college football's 150th anniversary celebration. ... Among those in attendance for Senior Day was Fort Wayne native and former Carroll linebacker Drue Tranquill, who now plays for the Los Angeles Chargers. 

What's Next?

The Irish are back in action next Saturday for the regular-season finale against Stanford (4-6) at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, California. Broadcast and kickoff time information is to be announced. The Cardinal are suffering through a down season and entering Saturday had lost back-to-back games against Colorado and Washington State. When they face the Irish they will be coming off Saturday's matchup against rival California. Stanford had won three straight matchups against the Irish before Notre Dame took the 2018 matchup 38-17 in South Bend.

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