Notre Dame Football: Breaking Down Irish's Keys to Success vs. Boston College

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistNovember 10, 2012

SOUTH BEND, IN - NOVEMBER 03:  Everett Golson #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish runs against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Notre Dame Stadium on November 3, 2012 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Pittsburgh 29-26 in triple overtime.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

It took three overtimes and a couple of lucky breaks, but Notre Dame was able to escape last week's trap game against Pittsburgh with a victory. The scare should serve as a terrific wake-up call as the Fighting Irish prepare to face Boston College.

The fourth-ranked Irish are huge favorites heading into Saturday's clash with the 2-7 Eagles. Yet, as they learned last week, that doesn't mean the game is automatically going to be a blowout.

After all, Boston College doesn't have anything else to play for at this point. Beating Notre Dame is the team's last chance to make an impact, so the Irish are going to see the Eagles' best effort in what has been a frustrating season.

The Eagles will be short one of their playmakers, however, as running back Andre Williams is listed as doubtful with an abdominal injury. That's one less concern for Notre Dame's stout defense, which had a performance to forget last week.

Williams is the team's leading rusher and scored on a 99-yard run against Army, showing off his game-changing ability. His likely absence will make the job of Manti Te'o much easier.

The Irish defense isn't totally out of the woods, though. The Eagles have a solid passing game led by quarterback Chase Rettig, who has more than 2,500 yards and 16 touchdowns. More than 1,000 yards have come from top target Alex Amidon.

Amidon has been on a roll lately, totaling at least 100 yards in three straight games. He ranks fifth in the nation in receiving yards and has reeled in six touchdowns. So Notre Dame cornerback Bennett Jackson should expect to have his hands full on Saturday.

On offense, the spotlight will continue to shine on quarterback Everett Golson. He struggled against the blitz last week and made a poor decision leading to a red-zone interception, but he had pretty good game overall.

That should mean he doesn't have to keep looking over his shoulder at Tommy Rees. As long as Golson limits his mistakes, the Irish are in great shape because they are so strong in other areas.

Expect the ground game to get a lot of work against a Boston College's brutal run defense. The Eagles are giving up more than 230 yards per game on the ground, giving Theo Riddick and his backfield mates a chance to post huge numbers.

All told, Notre Dame's superior talent should be more than enough to push it past Boston College as long as it has the effort level to match.

Last week's narrow victory should ensure that's the case.