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Notre Dame vs. Boston College: Complete Game Preview

Connor KillorenSenior Analyst INovember 6, 2012

Notre Dame vs. Boston College: Complete Game Preview

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    Pack your bags, folks. The next stop to an undefeated season for Notre Dame is Chestnut Hill, Mass., where the Fighting Irish will take on Boston College in the 22nd edition of the Holy War. 

    Notre Dame leads the all-time series with the Eagles, 12-9, and has won three consecutive meetings. 

    The trip to New England will be the first for the Irish since October 2, 2010, when they defeated Boston College, 31-13, in Brian Kelly's inaugural season as head coach. 

    How will Notre Dame fare in its return trip to the Boston area? 

    Let's find out. 

Game-Day Information

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    Who: Notre Dame at Boston College

    When: Saturday, 8 p.m. (EDT)

    Where: Chestnut Hill, Mass. 

    Stadium: Alumni Stadium (44,500) 

    Weather Forecast: High 50, Low 37, 0% chance of rain, wind NNE at 6 mph

    TV: ABC

    Radio: IMG Notre Dame Radio Network

    Internet Stream: N/A

Depth Chart for Notre Dame

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    Position—Starter, Backup

     

    OFFENSE

    QBEverett Golson, Andrew Hendrix OR Tommy Rees

    RBTheo Riddick OR George Atkinson III OR Cierre Wood, Cam McDaniel

    WRTJ Jones, DaVaris Daniels

    WRRobby Toma, Davonte' Neal

    WRJohn Goodman, Daniel Smith

    TE—Tyler Eifert, Ben Koyack

    LTZack Martin, Ronnie Stanley

    RTChristian Lombard, Nick Martin

    CBraxston Cave, Mike Golic, Jr. 

    LGChris Watt, Conor Hanratty

    RGMike Golic, Jr., Bruce Heggie

     

    DEFENSE

    DEKapron Lewis-Moore, Sheldon Day

    DEStephon Tuitt, Tony Springmann

    NGLouis Nix III, Kona Schwenke

    LBPrince Shembo, Ishaq Williams

    LBDan Fox, Carlo Calabrese

    LBManti Te'o, Jarrett Grace

    LBDanny Spond, Ben Councell

    CBBennett Jackson, Jalen Brown

    CBKeiVarae Russell, Josh Atkinson

    FSZeke Motta, Nicky Baratti

    SSMatthias Farley, Chis Salvi

Depth Chart for Boston College

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    Position—Starter, Backup

     

    OFFENSE

    QBChase Rettig, Josh Bordner

    RBDavid Dudeck, Rolandan Finch

    WRAlex Amidon, Donte Elliott

    WRJohnathan Coleman, Dan Crimmins

    WRBobby Swigert OR Spiffy Evans

    TEChris Pantale, Mike Giacone

    LTEmmett Cleary, Dan Lembke

    LGBobby Vardaro, Harris Williams

    CAndy Gallik, Paul Gaughan

    RGSeth Betancourt, Bryan Davis

    RTJohn Wetzel, Aaron Kramer

     

    DEFENSE

    DEKieran Borcich, Mehdi Abdesmad

    DTConnor Wujciak, Max Ricci

    NTBryan Murray, Dominic Appiah

    DEBrian Mihalik OR Kasim Edebali

    SLBSteele Divitto, Tim Joy

    MLBNick Clancy, Sean Duggan

    WLBSteven Daniels, Josh Keyes

    FCManuel Asprilla, Bryce Jones

    BCSean Sylvia, Ameer Richardson

    FSJustin Simmons, C.J. Jones

    SSJim Noel OR Spenser Rositano

     

    Full Depth Chart here

What Happened to the Fighting Irish Last Week

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    Notre Dame survived its closest scare last Saturday, defeating Pittsburgh, 29-26, in triple overtime at Notre Dame Stadium to keep its undefeated record intact.

    Ghosts of last season seemed to be present in South Bend, as the Irish lost the turnover battle, 3-0. Both Everett Golson and Tommy Rees threw an interception, while running back Cierre Wood fumbled on Pittsburgh's goal line in the second overtime period.

    Despite the mistakes and overall sloppy play from Brian Kelly's squad, the Irish managed to pull out the win thanks to a 1-yard touchdown run from Everett Golson in the third overtime period that sealed the contest. 

    For a full recap of Notre Dame's victory over Pittsburgh, click here

What Happened to the Eagles Last Week

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    Boston College dropped to 1-5 in Atlantic Coast Conference play after a 28-14 loss to Wake Forest at Groves Stadium last Saturday. 

    The Eagles were doomed by four turnovers from quarterback Chase Rettig, three of which were interceptions. Rettig also lost a fumble at his own 25-yard line that was returned by Wake Forest to the Boston College 15-yard line. 

    Frank Spaziani's team didn't receive much help from its defense, as the Demon Deacons rolled to 409 total yards. That offensive output was aided by Wake Forest receiver Michael Campanaro, who hauled in 16 receptions for 123 yards and three touchdowns.

    For a full recap of Boston College's loss to Wake Forest, click here.  

What It Means to Both Teams

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    Because Boston College is the home team, I'll begin with what Saturday's contest means for head coach Frank Spaziani's squad.

    Because of the Eagles' ugly start to the 2012 season—Boston College owns a record of 2-7 through nine games—fans have called for the firing of Spaziani. The 47-year-old Penn State graduate has a winning percentage of just .445 through his current fourth season as head coach in Chestnut Hill.

    Clearly, Spaziani's job security is in danger, and winning is the only way to change that. A golden opportunity (see what I did there?) awaits Spaziani on Saturday in the form of his Eagles' matchup with No. 4 Notre Dame. A victory over the Irish, particularly in primetime and on national television, would give Boston College athletic director Brad Bates enough reason to consider keeping Spaziani. 

    Across the field from Spaziani will be Brian Kelly, who has the coolest seat in America, having guided the Fighting Irish to an undefeated record through nine games.

    With Kelly's team in the thick of the national title discussion, a convincing victory over Boston College will give the BCS voters something to think about while they fill out their ballots on Sunday afternoon.

Key Player for Notre Dame

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    Key Player: Notre Dame secondary

    Per usual, I've elected to choose a unit rather than an individual for this week's key player.

    This week, I've tabbed the Irish secondary as the key player, and for good reason.

    Boston College has had difficulty piecing together any semblance a running game this season, as the Eagles are cellar dwellers in rushing offense at 118th nationally in the statistic, averaging an abysmal 74.67 yards per game on the ground.

    Thus, the Boston College offense has been forced to attack defenses through the air, which has become its specialty. The Eagles have hung an average of 289 passing yards per game on their opponents this season.

    And facing a Notre Dame secondary that yielded 356 passing yards to Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones should give the Eagles small hope in their chances at moving the ball on Saturday evening. Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco will align his cornerbacks roughly 10-15 yards off the line of scrimmage in an effort to take away the big play over the top.

    If the Eagles can methodically move down the field with intermediate passes, they may make the game down to the wire.

Key Player for Boston College

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    Key Player: Chase Rettig, QB

    To the dismay of Boston College fans, the Eagles offense has gone as far as Rettig has carried it this season.

    Boston College's 28-14 loss to Wake Forest is simply a microcosm of the entire season for Rettig, as the junior turned the ball over four times, three on interceptions. Despite those four turnovers, his team only lost by two touchdowns, which should be a concern to Wake Forest, but that's a matter for a different article.

    The positive takeaway is that Rettig only threw five interceptions in Boston College's eight games prior to the loss to Wake Forest.

    How Rettig fares against a stiff Notre Dame defense will likely be the key for Boston College.

Notre Dame Will Win If...

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    Notre Dame will win if its defensive front seven pressures Boston College quarterback Chase Rettig into turning the ball over, which he showed a penchant for during the Eagles' loss to Wake Forest a week ago.

    As I alluded to earlier, the Eagles have struggled mightily running the football this season, so Rettig has been counted upon to move the football through the air. That didn't work out so well for Rettig last week, as he threw three interceptions.

    On the offensive side of the ball, the Irish must establish their running game early and often in order to open up the vertical passing game for sophomore quarterback Everett Golson.

    Notre Dame must also protect the football, as it had done well prior to last week's win over Pittsburgh, in which the Irish turned it over three times.

Boston College Will Win If...

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    Boston College will win if it takes away Notre Dame's rushing attack that is bolstered by a solid offensive line, as well as running backs Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood.

    The Irish have prided themselves on running the football this season, which, surprisingly, has become the foundation of third-year head coach Brian Kelly's offense.

    If Notre Dame has problems establishing a consistent rushing attack, the Irish will be forced to turn to Everett Golson to move the football through the air, which has become less and less of a risk as the season has gone on. Yet Golson has had the luxury of an effective running game to lean on when the passing game sputters.

    The Eagles' chances at winning will also be bolstered if they can win the turnover battle, just as Pittsburgh did last week.

Prediction

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    The last two times Boston College encountered an undefeated Notre Dame team, it sprung monumental upsets. Those two matchups in 1993 and 2002, are games that Irish fans would like to forget.

    However, those Boston College teams were leaps and bounds better than this year's edition, which currently sits at 2-7.

    And with a head coach who is coaching to save his job, winning won't come easily, especially against an Irish team ranked 10th nationally in total defense.

    Notre Dame will roll to its 10th win of the season on Saturday evening in Chestnut Hill.

     

    My Prediction: Notre Dame 35, Boston College 13

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