Notre Dame 49, Boston College 20: Are changes coming for reeling Eagles?

Brooks Sutherland
September 16, 2017 - 7:11 pm

Missed opportunities.

Boston College’s kryptonite struck again.

The Eagles continually failed to convert on key drives which proved too pivotal in Saturday’s 49-20 loss to Notre Dame in the renewed rivalry dubbed as “The Holy War.” That and defensively, they allowed 515 yards on the ground.

“We did a lot of good things in the game,” said coach Steve Addazio. “We didn’t stop the run.”

The biggest flub of the game for BC came in the third quarter, which completely changed the dynamic of the remainder of the game.

Trailing 14-10, Boston College recovered a fumble from Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush on the Irish’s 32. A big opportunity to take the lead, BC failed to convert and Colton Lichtenberg was forced to kick a 41-yarder.

The field goal cut Notre Dame’s lead to 14-13, but all of the Eagles momentum was sucked dry. BC had an opportunity to put serious pressure on the Irish, but instead bailed them out. Notre Dame answered by outscoring BC 35-7 to finish the game and despite a solid first half, Boston College dropped to 1-2.

For Notre Dame, it was the Josh Adams and Brandon Wimbush show.

Wimbush set a school record for rush yards in a game by a quarterback (207 yards) and Adams had a career-high 229 yards on just 16 carries. Wimbush also scored four rushing touchdowns and threw for 96 yards.

Notre Dame’s 515 rushing yards are the second most given up by BC in school history. An unexpected performance from a defense who hangs its hat on stopping the run. And just two years ago had the No. 1 ranked defense in the country.

“We don’t give up rushing yards like that,” said Addazio. “We let it up on big plays. It wasn’t like when you get ground-pounded to death. We just let up big runs. That’s what happened here. We don’t do that. But we did.”

At halftime, it appeared to be a bounce-back game for BC quarterback Anthony Brown, following a disastrous Week 2 performance. Brown was 11-for-18 with 111 yards and one touchdown at the break. The redshirt freshman looked poised, composed and in control of the game as the Eagles went into halftime down 14-10. He made some good throws in the second half, but didn’t have his same command.

Brown then threw two interceptions in the second half, pushing his total to five in two weeks. He connected with Charlie Callinan for a second touchdown before his second interception of the game, with 9:02 remaining in the game. Callinan was also on the receiving end of a 22-yard score early in the second quarter. But the late hookup only cut the score to 35-20. Notre Dame finished with seven rushing touchdowns.

Brown was pulled for Darius Wade late in the fourth after the game was way out of reach.

Despite the loss, the Eagles had a much-improved ground attack, led by Jon Hilliman’s 122 yards.

Callinan had 82 receiving yards to lead BC.

The road from here certainly doesn’t get any easier. BC travels to Clemson next week, then following Central Michigan, they match up with Virginia Tech, Louisville, Virginia, Florida State and NC State consecutively.

“The ballers will step forward,” Hilliman said. “… guys who are imposters, will make their way to the back.”