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irish insider

Boston College: Head to Head

| Friday, November 22, 2019

Notre Dame Passing 

It took 10 games, but Ian Book finally used the superior athletes at his disposal and took some deep shots with tremendous results against Navy. While it would have been ideal to perform like this a few weeks ago, the timing could spell disaster for Boston College. The Eagles rank 125th in the FBS with 302.3 passing yards allowed per game. Overall, they’re 128th in total defense, giving up 486.9 all-purpose yards per game. The lack of rushing yards allowed per game is likely due in large part to the fact that opposing offenses have thrown the ball all over BC. Combine that with a season-total 11 team sacks (122nd in the FBS) and an Irish passing attack hitting its stride, and this could be a long afternoon for the Eagles.

EDGE: Notre Dame

 

Notre Dame Rushing 

Where to go with the Irish run game? On the one hand, just when they seem to be find their rhythm against Duke, they choke up and post a lackluster 120-combined rushing yards against Navy. But honestly, with the way senior wide receiver Chase Claypool and grad student wide receiver Chris Finke are receiving the ball, does it even matter? Boston College on the other hand has allowed 184.6 average yards against some pretty average opponents. It’ll be interesting to see if the Eagles can cause enough damage to force Book to create space out of the pocket, but if so, Book has demonstrated that he and his running back crew of senior running back Tony Jones Jr. and sophomore running back Jahmir Smith have every ability to pick up major yardage for the Irish.

EDGE: Even

 

Notre Dame Offensive Coaching

Boston College is No. 97 in the nation in defensive efficiency, and the Eagles have spotted some big numbers to some pretty mediocre football teams. Syracuse, who is in a tough down year, put up 27 on them, Kansas put up 48, and Florida State put up 38. So the Eagles are definitely vulnerable on defense. If the Irish are able to draw up a few plays that break out for big yardage in this one, they might be able to blow this thing open early on. I think Chip Long and Co. will have some creative things in store that will work against Boston College’s subpar defense. I’d give the Irish a notable edge here. 

EDGE: Notre Dame

 

Notre Dame Offensive Special Teams 

Starting junior place kicker Jonathan Doerer has been spot on for extra points this season, a perfect 44-44. He has also been pretty solid with the 10 field goals he has attempted this season, nailing eight. However, one of his misses came in the narrow 21-20 victory over Virginia Tech, and making that kick would have added a nice cushion for the Irish. On the punting side of things, true freshman Jay Bramblett has had some shaky punts this season and only has an average of 40.3 yards through his 49 punts. However, with the Boston College defense giving up 6.56 yards per play, ranking No. 116 in the country, Bramblett might not be seeing the field much. 

EDGE: Notre Dame

 

Boston College Passing

The loss of starting quarterback Anthony Brown to a season-ending knee injury launched former walk-on Dennis Grosel into the rotation just over a month ago. Grosel doesn’t have nearly the same consistency as Brown, however he seems to have settled in recently throwing 195 and 227 yards in the last two games, respectively. That being said, at the end of the day this is not a team that likes to put the ball in the air. Not that they’re not capable of it, but when you have a quarterback still adjusting to the pace of the game and a running back as dominant as A.J. Dillon, why wouldn’t you? Not that there’s any reason the Eagles would be expected to try to air the ball out, but against the Notre Dame secondary that includes senior safety Jalen Elliott and freshman safety Kyle Hamilton, that would be unwise.

EDGE: Notre Dame

 

Boston College Rushing 

Junior running back A.J. Dillon is a workhorse for Boston College. The 6-foot, 250-pound back has already racked up 4148 career rushing yards, 1451 of which have come this season, good for third in the FBS. Dillon has eclipsed 100 yards rushing in seven games this season. He failed to reach 150 in only one of those seven and has surpassed the 200 rushing yard mark in two games, posting 13 rushing touchdowns on the season. Aside from him, sophomore back David Bailey has chipped in 765 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground. After them, rushing production drops off precipitously. While those two could be a handful, a vaunted Irish pass defense should make the Eagles one-dimensional and a solid run defense should stand firm with Clark Lea making proper adjustments as he has all season.

EDGE: Notre Dame

 

Boston College Offensive Coaching

In his first year as offensive coordinator for Boston College, Mike Bajakian has continued to build on last year’s progress. Just two years ago, the Eagles averaged a mere 25 points per game. Now, they’re recording an average of nearly 33 points per game. Their red zone completion and third-down conversion percentages are all fair but nothing particularly daunting. On the one hand, this Notre Dame team has relied on its defense all season. But that same defense has been a bit of a let down, so this one’s a draw.

EDGE: Even

 

Boston College Offensive Special Teams 

Boston College graduate student kicker Aaron Boumerhi has converted eight of 13 attempts, including two-of-three beyond 40 yards. Meanwhile, redshirt junior Grant Carlson has been a consistent punting force for the Eagles. The Irish have certainly improved their tendency from last year to collect penalties on special teams but with the exception of a big play in Athens, Georgia, have yet to show much. Don’t expect them to make many mistakes but it probably won’t be the place that makes or breaks this matchup either.

EDGE: Notre Dame

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