Staff Predictions: Boston College Eagles
Observer Sports Staff | Friday, November 13, 2020
Hayden Adams — Sports Editor
Brian Kelly and Ian Book, I’m sorry.
I am happy to say that you both made me eat my words. You gave me maybe the greatest game I will ever see, and certainly the best home game I ever bore witness to as an undergraduate. Now you have to turn your attention to Boston College, a team that nearly upset Clemson and has greatly surpassed expectations with a 5-3 record.
Jeff Hafley is doing wonders in Chestnut Hill, and his team will be motivated with former Irish four-star recruit Phil Jurkovec starting under center. However, that’s the reason I don’t see this playing out like Boston College in 1993. Brian Kelly doesn’t tend to fall for trap games and the Irish should be ready for a team boasting their former backup quarterback in Jurkovec. There will most certainly be a letdown, but the preseason worries — specifically of a physical road matchup after a brutal Clemson game — don’t loom as large after the way Notre Dame beat up on the former No. 1 team in the country last week.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 34, Boston College 14
Jimmy Ward — Associate Sports Editor
I’m not overly concerned about Phil Jurkovec leading his Eagles to a revenge game win. Remember his first drive against Michigan last year? When he tripped over the 15-yard line on his first snap. He went three-and-out that drive and was running all over the place. I think that he will find himself in situations similar to that pretty often, and he frankly isn’t fast enough or athletic enough to escape one of the best defenses in the country. Don’t get me wrong — he has had a great season so far — but Boston College just isn’t very intimidating here. They might be slow to start but the will Irish carry their steam into this week and continue their dominance on the road.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 40, Boston College 21
Charlotte Edmonds — Senior Sports Writer
Can you even call it the Holy War at this point? The last time Boston College beat Notre Dame, Barack Obama had just been elected President four days prior and Ian Book was probably hanging out on the playground in fifth grade. Needless to say, this hasn’t been much of a rivalry as of recently. But that might be changing under Eagles head coach Jeff Hafley. Entering his first season as head coach with a wealth of experience as an assistant at both the collegiate and professional level, Hafley has fully embraced the pro-style system with former Notre Dame quarterback Phil Jurkovec at the helm. This team is no Clemson but they’re respectable in the ACC, and with the exception of a bad loss to Virginia Tech, they’ve been competitive throughout the league, even taking a depleted Clemson down to the wire before crumbling under pressure. Ultimately, the Irish defense is simply too good and too overwhelming for even the strongest offensive showing from the Eagles, but Jurkovec’s cannon of an arm and army of receivers are sure to keep things interesting. Experience wins out on this one, but keep Hafley and Boston College on your radar.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 38, Boston College 24
Ellen Geyer — Senior Sports Writer
As much as Jeff Hafley has impressed me at Boston College this year, you can’t argue with Notre Dame’s win last week. The Irish play speaks for itself. Unfortunately for Coach Hafley, the Eagles’ play does too.
Our guy Phil Jurkovec will be back in the pocket as he desperately tries to defeat a defense that he found himself annihilated by during his time in blue and gold. Kyle Hamilton will come hungry, and since BC doesn’t have a ground-game threat like Clemson did, the Notre Dame secondary will be able to drop back more. That will be key, since Jurkovec did admittedly have some deep-ball dimes when he faced the Tigers two weeks ago. Unfortunately for Phil, though, matters are complicated by the fact that his offensive line might as well be made of blocking sleds. He’s been sacked 22 times this year.
I don’t think it’s necessary to reflect on the Irish offense much. We all saw what happened last week in South Bend. Knocking on all the wood, I’m gonna say that 8-0 lies on the other side of this weekend’s trip to Chestnut Hill.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 45, Boston College 23
Aidan Thomas — Sports Writer
“Trap game.” “Letdown.” “1993.” Am I missing any of the overused and tired storylines that ABC commentators will bring up before this 3:30 p.m. kickoff? National media love to make every game for Notre Dame a trap game, despite the fact that the Irish have trailed for a grand total of 23 minutes of game time this season. If you want to push that narrative, leave right now.
Sure, Notre Dame still has to put in work to win out in the regular season, but BC should not push them with their inconsistencies on both sides of the ball. The offense is a home run or strike out type of offense, relying largely on the deep ball, with absolutely no run game. They’ll be very one dimensional against Notre Dame’s fearsome defensive front. Defensively, BC ranks 118th out of 123 teams in giving up plays of at least 20 yards. They’ve been torched at various times by running backs, screen passes in the backfield and the QB run, all plays which correlate with Irish strengths. Also if you take away the rusty game against Florida State (26 points allowed) and of course the epic clash with Clemson (33 points allowed in regulation), Notre Dame has given up 36 points in their other five games. BC’s one-dimensional offense won’t present much of a challenge I believe, outside of maybe one or two big plays. Irish win comfortably.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 34, Boston College 17