Notre Dame Football: 10 Things We Learned About the Irish's Win over the Eagles
Following the Notre Dame Fighting Irish's 21-6 victory over the Boston College Eagles, I'll dissect 10 things we learned from the game.
While the final result wasn't what Irish fans expected, it was a win, nonetheless.
The Irish are 10-0 for the first time in this decade, which is an accomplishment all in itself.
Let's get started with the lessons learned from the game that have pushed the Irish to that 10-0 start.
10. Boston College Still Hates Notre Dame
With under one minute remaining in regulation, Notre Dame nose guard Louis Nix and Boston College offensive lineman Bobby Vardaro exchanged a few punches.
It was an indication of the bad blood that has always existed between these two fierce rivals.
And there's a palpable hatred between both teams, though that hatred seems to stem largely from the Eagles. It's hard to put a finger on exactly why, but that seems to be the resounding theme of the Holy War.
9. Cierre Wood Is Still in Brian Kelly's Dog House
After finishing last season as Notre Dame's leading rusher, Cierre Wood has been anything but this season.
Against Boston College, the senior from Oxnard, Calif., only recorded six carries for a pedestrian 33 yards. Why he continues to get the short end of the stick in terms of carries remains to be seen, but it's clear that Theo Riddick has taken the lead role at running back.
8. Everett Golson Has Grown Up
It was certainly a process, but Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson has finally grown up and grabbed the starting quarterback job by the horns.
Golson finished the game having completed 16 of 24 pass attempts for 200 yards and two touchdowns. It was the most impressive bottom line for the redshirt freshman in 10 starts this season.
7. Boston College Came to Play
The Eagles entered this contest as 20-point underdogs, and rightfully so with a 2-7 record. The Eagles were supposed to lay down and lose by 20, if not more.
However, that was not the case, as Boston College was within four points just minutes before halftime. They showed that, despite being out of bowl contention, they were going to give Notre Dame everything it could handle, which turned out to be the case.
6. Notre Dame Should Thank Texas A&M
For Notre Dame to reach this season's BCS National Championship Game, it needs to win out and hope that the other undefeated teams lose.
Saturday, the Irish received a major boost by way of having other contenders lose, as No. 15 defeated No. 1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Johnny "Football" Manziel was the catalyst of an Aggie offense that pasted the stingy Alabama defense for 29 points on the afternoon.
With the Tide out of the national title picture, Notre Dame's road just became less bumpy.
5. Notre Dame Has an Underrated Offensive Line
Notre Dame has defeated its opponents this season by playing rock-solid defense and running the football.
In order to run the ball effectively, the offensive line must consistently get a push up front, which the Irish offensive line has done all season. The group is one of the most underrated in the country, as it has paved the way for a rushing attack that has gone over 100 yards in every game of Notre Dame's 10-0 start.
4. Tyler Eifert Can't Be Stopped
Boston College knew that Tyler Eifert would be Notre Dame's top receiving target but could do little to stop the 6'6", 249-pound tight end on Saturday evening.
The Fort Wayne, Ind., native hauled in six key receptions for 67 yards.
Offensive coordinator Chuck Martin did an excellent job of getting Eifert in one-on-one matchups that Everett Golson took full advantage of.
3. Manti Te'o Made Another Heisman Statement
Manti Te'o made another statement in his Heisman Trophy candidacy against Boston College, as the senior recorded his sixth interception on the season, which is more than any defensive back in the country.
While Te'o may not win the coveted award because of the existence of Collin Klein and Johnny Manziel, he will take home the distinction as the nation's top defender.
2. Brian Kelly Has Managed Expectations Well
Brian Kelly, along with his players, has had to block out all of the outside distractions surrounding the program. Kelly considers all of those distractions "the noise."
He has urged his players to stay focused on the task at hand, which, this week, was defeating Boston College.
And despite the fact that the Irish didn't win big, they earned the win. The Irish keep on winning, and the man most responsible for that is the third-year head coach of the nation's most storied program.
1. Notre Dame Didn't Earn Style Points
As unfortunate as it is, the BCS system virtually requires teams to earn "style points" because two-thirds of the rankings are determined by human polls.
The way to earn "style points" is to beat up on weaker teams, and Notre Dame hasn't exactly done that this season. Last week's triple-overtime victory over Pittsburgh didn't get the job done, and neither did Saturday evening's 21-6 victory over Boston College.
And despite Alabama having lost, the Irish will still be on the outside looking in on the BCS National Championship picture.