Crucial penalties hurt Notre Dame
Dan Murphy | Monday, November 10, 2008
BOSTON – It took only two plays from scrimmage before Notre Dame made its first mistake. The Irish were called for a 15-yard chop block penalty, which started a trend of big penalties killing drives before they got started.
The chop block negated a 13-yard reception by freshman receiver Michael Floyd and pushed the offense back to a second-and-20 situation from the 17-yard line.
Two plays later, the Irish were hit with and illegal procedure penalty and were eventually forced to punt the ball from the 16.
“Early in the first quarter we put ourselves in some very bad down and distance situations with some penalties,” Irish coach Charlie Weis said. “We got in to no ebb and flow in the first quarter.”
Referees hit the Irish with four penalties in the first quarter for a total of 38 yards. Notre Dame’s offense racked up only 28 yards on its 11 plays in the quarter.
The third Notre Dame penalty also put the Irish in a hole they needed to dig themselves out of early. Golden Tate had almost half of his 22-yard kick return negated because of a holding call with just under two minutes remaining in the quarter. The hold set the starting point back to the 14-yard line.
“[The penalties] were a big factor it put us in a lot of long yard situations and a couple times stopped those drives,” Irish tackle Sam Young said.
On the very next play Notre Dame lost another solid run when freshman Kyle Rudolph was called for a hold. Three plays later the Irish punted again.
“It’s frustrating, I had two of them and it’s just inexcusable. I take responsibility for that and we just have to learn and get better,” Young said.
Both drives gave Boston College the ball inside Notre Dame territory to start its drive. Neither drive resulted in points for the Eagles, but eventually the penalties caught up to them.
With time running out in the first half Notre Dame appeared to be moving down field en route to at least tying the game. On a first-and-10 from the 25-yard line Armando Allen caught a pass out of the backfield and scampered 17 yards before being shoved out of bounds.
It wouldn’t stand. Irish center Dan Wenger was called for holding on the play causing another 27 yard swing in favor of the Eagles. The very next play Clausen tried to force a pass into coverage and Boston College safety Paul Anderson picked it off.
“I felt that the team on offense was just pressing to try to make a play most of the rest of the night,” Weis said.
The Irish were only flagged once in the entire second half, but by that time the damage had been done.
Penalties were an indicator of the mental mistakes that cost Notre Dame the game.