Chestnut Hill, MA—The Fighting Irish have been playing well the last few weeks and there are no signs of them letting their foot of the gas pedal.
No.2 Notre Dame ranked and first place in the ACC Conference beat Boston College 45-31 on Saturday at Alumni Stadium. The Fighting Irish extended their win streak against the Eagles to eight in the series.
“It’s been a long couple of months since we got back here in June and these guys have had a rest,” said BC coach Jeff Hafley. “In the span of three weeks we just played the No. 1 Clemson and No. 2 teams in the country and that’s a really good football team we played and I can see that team going really deep.”
Ian Book improved to 28-3 as a starter by completing 20-of-27 for 283 yards and three touchdowns, all to split end Ben Skowronek. He also rushed for 85 yards on 10 carries with a touchdown. The Irish (8-0, 7-0) accumulated 561 yards of total offense to 357 for the Eagles but had a 29-22 edge in first downs.
BC quarterback Phil Jurkovec completed a 40-yard pass to Gil that led to a 35-yard field goal by Boumerhi with 3:12 to go before halftime. ND Daelin Hayes recovered an bad shotgun snap to Jurkovec at the Eagles 49. Notre Dame got the ball and moved it down the field culminated in a 7-yard scoring pass to Skowronek to make it 31-16 at the break.
The Eagles (5-4, 4-4) opened the second half with its fourth drive inside the Irish red zone that couldn’t punch it in the for a touchdown. ND forced a turnover on downs when running back Travis Levy was stopped on a fourth-and-1 from the 9-yard line. The last three trips ended with field goals.
The Irish made adjustments on the defensive side of the ball when linebacker Jack Kiser intercepted Jurkovec on the Eagles 43. Tailback C’Bo Flemister caught a 27-yard pass and had a 1-yard touchdown run on consecutive plays to put the Irish ahead 37-16 with 6:34 remaining in the third quarter.
BC finally got their offense on a roll with an 12-play, 80-yard, drive that cut the deficit to 38-23 with 35 seconds left in the third quarter. David Bailey completed the drive with a 3-yard run for his fifth TD of the season.
Jurkovec completed 18-of-40 for 272 yards and two touchdowns with a pick despite a sore shoulder. But just came up a little short today.
“For us to beat this team we had to execute at a really high level and to do that we needed to score touchdowns,” said Jeff Hafley. “Give Notre Dame’s defense credit, they are big and physical.”
The Irish answered with Book capping a seven play, 70-yard, drive with a 6-yard TD run for 45-23 lead with 12:19 remaining. After that drive ND went into cruise control for the rest of the game.
The Eagles wasn’t going down without a fight against the Irish. BC closed it out with a scoring drive with 4:09 remaining with a six-play, 70-yard drive that ended on an 8-yard completion to tight end Hunter Long and Travis Levy ran in the two-point conversion.
“They fought and they fought until the end and even in the fourth quarter they didn’t quit,” said Hafley. “That’s who we are that’s what we are building and we are going to come back and finish the season the right way.”
The Eagles tried to hang around in the 4th quarter. After a missed Irish field goal, BC drove down and scored on an 8 yard pass from Jurkovec to Long, and Levy ran in the two point attempt to trimmed ND lead to 45-31. Penalties nullified their onside kick try, and ND ran out the remainder of the clock to seal the victory.