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Head-to-Head: Notre Dame vs. Boston College

| Thursday, November 8, 2012

EAGLES PASSING

The Eagles come into their biggest game of the year with the 27th-best passing offense in the country, averaging 289.2 passing yards per game. Junior quarterback Chase Rettig, who has thrown for 2,561 yards, 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions, directs the Boston College attack. Rettig averages 284.6 passing yards per game, good enough for third in the ACC and 18th in the nation. Rettig has had three 300-plus yard performances this season, including a career-high 441 passing yards in a 41-32 season-opening loss against Miami on Sept. 1. That performance put him sixth on the Boston College single-game records list and the highest for an Eagles quarterback since 1993. Last season in a 16-14 loss to the Irish on Nov. 19, 2011, Rettig threw for 170 and a touchdown on 18-for-38 passing.
Undisputadly Rettig’s favorite target, junior receiver Alex Amidon has six games of over 100 yards this season. Amidon has already totaled 1,073 receiving yards and six touchdowns on 63 receptions. Amidon is only 76 yards shy of breaking Brian Brennan’s single-season school record of 1,149 receiving yards in 1983. Against Miami, Amidon caught 10 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown.
The Irish are ranked 21st in pass defense, giving up 194 passing yards per game. Senior linebacker Manti Te’o leads the Irish with five interceptions and is second in the country. Sophomore defensive end Stephon Tuitt has 10 sacks, which puts him third in Notre Dame single-season history.
EDGE: EVEN

EAGLES RUSHING
The Eagles only average 74.7 rushing yards per game, placing them 118th in the country. To make matters worse, Boston College will be without its leading rusher, junior running back Andre Williams. Williams has rushed 635 yards and four touchdowns, but was injured in Saturday’s 28-14 loss to Wake Forest. Williams rushed for a season-high 191 yards and two touchdowns in a 34-31 loss to Army on Oct. 6. Williams will be replaced by freshman receiver-turned-running back David Dudeck, who has rushed for 56 yards this season. Dudeck started the year out of the rotation but was upgraded to Boston College’s third-down back following the Eagles first win against Maine on Sept. 8. Meanwhile, the average height of the Boston College offensive line is 6-foot-5 and average weight is 306 pounds.  
The Notre Dame defense has allowed only two rushing touchdowns all year, best in the nation. Both of those touchdowns have come in the last two weeks, to Oklahoma sophomore quarterback Blake Bell and  Pittsburgh senior running back Ray Graham. Graham gashed the Irish for 172 rushing yards and a touchdown on 24 carries. The Irish also have the 11th best rushing defense in the country, giving up 100.7 rushing yards per game.
EDGE: NOTRE DAME

EAGLES OFFENSIVE COACHING
Defensive coordinator Bob Diaco will have to deal with another pass-heavy defense, but the Eagles lack a solid running game. Notre Dame has had plenty of success when making offenses one-dimensional.
EDGE: NOTRE DAME

EAGLES SPECIAL TEAMS
Junior kicker Nate Freese has been consistent this year, hitting 12 of his 14 field goal attempts. Both misses came from 40-plus yards. Boston College leads the country in punt returning, led by sophomore receiver Spiffy Evans’ 31.6 yards per return.
EDGE: BOSTON COLLEGE

 

IRISH PASSING
On Saturday, sophomore quarterback Everett Golson led the Irish in a fourth quarter comeback, facing a 14-point deficit with 14 minutes left in the fourth quarter. The first-year starter threw for 227 yards and two touchdowns on 23-for-42 passing. Both of Golson’s touchdown passes came in the fourth quarter, as did an interception in the end zone. Golson is 7-0 as a starter, putting him in a tie for fourth in consecutive wins by a Notre Dame quarterback to start his career.
Sophomore receiver DaVaris Daniels had the best game of his young collegiate career, setting career highs in both receptions and passing yards with seven catches for 86 yards. Daniels’ biggest contribution came on a 45-yard catch that set up the game-tying touchdown pass to senior running back Theo Riddick in the fourth quarter. Senior tight end Tyler Eifert recorded a season high six receptions for 62 yards.
The Eagles are in the middle of the pack in terms of passing defense, giving up 245.22 passing yards per game. In a 28-14 loss to Wake Forest on Saturday, Demon Deacons junior quarterback Tanner Price threw for 293 yards, one interception and tied a career high with three touchdowns. Price’s 39 completions was a career high for the third-year starter. In the Eagles’ 20-17 win over Maryland on Oct. 27, Boston College recorded three interceptions. Sophomore safety Spenser Rositano leads the Eagles with three interceptions, while sophomore cornerback Sean Sylvia is third on the team with 75 tackles.
EDGE: NOTRE DAME

IRISH RUSHING
Only two Notre Dame teams have averaged over 200 passing and 200 rushing yards in the same season. This Notre Dame team averages 204.1 passing yards and 200.3 rushing yards per game. Notre Dame’s 200.3 rushing yards puts the Irish at 30th in the country. Against Pittsburgh, the Irish rushed for 231 yards, part of Notre Dame’s 522 total yards Saturday. Riddick led the Irish with 85 rushing yards on 22 carries. Senior running back Cierre Wood rushed for 70 yards on 13 carries, but fumbled at the goal line in the second overtime that nearly cost the Irish the game. Golson rushed for 74 yards on 15 carries, including the game-winning touchdown on a quarterback sneak in the third overtime. Golson also rushed for the game-tying two-point conversion with 2:11 left in the fourth quarter.
Boston College is ranked 116th in the naiton in rushing defense, giving up 233.33 rushing yards per game. In a 34-31 loss to Army’s triple-option offense, the Eagles gave up 516 rushing yards, including three Army rushers with over 100-plus yard rushing performances. Senior linebacker Nick Clancy leads the Eagles with 107 tackles this season.
EDGE: NOTRE DAME

IRISH OFFENSIVE COACHING
Irish coach Brian Kelly managed Golson well following the sophomore’s benching in the second quarter and maneuvered a three-turnover effort. Going against a spotty Boston College rushing defense, the Notre Dame gameplan must be to run the ball.
EDGE: NOTRE DAME

IRISH SPECIAL TEAMS
 Sophomore kicker Kyle Brindza missed his sixth field goal of the year and also missed an extra point Saturday. The Irish are 115th in the nation punt returning, averaging 2.62 yards per return. Senior punter Ben Turk has averaged 41 yards per punt.
EDGE: EVEN