No. 4 Notre Dame beats Boston College to improve to 10-0
BY MARK LAZERUS firstname.lastname@example.org November 10, 2012 10:30PM
Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson throws under pressure from Boston College's Kasim Edebali during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Boston Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Updated: November 10, 2012 11:28PM
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — Brian Kelly isn’t making stump speeches to bully Notre Dame into the BCS championship game. And the Irish certainly aren’t blowing away voters by blowing away opponents, or with flashy numbers and a highlight-reel offense.
But at this rate, they might not have to.
The Irish surely didn’t wow anyone with a ho-hum 21-6 win over Boston College on Saturday — style points just aren’t Notre Dame’s style — yet they moved one giant step closer to a championship game thanks to top-ranked Alabama’s loss to Texas A&M earlier in the evening. The Irish just keep winning, and if they keep doing that — and if Oregon or Kansas State slips up down the stretch — they might just grind their way to the top, just like they grinded their way past the Eagles on Saturday night to remain one of three undefeated teams left in the country.
This one followed a familiar formula. The Irish (10-0 for the first time since 1993) dominated the time of possession with long, efficient, clock-devouring drives anchored by a reliable running game and timely third-down conversions — the Irish converted their first 10 third-down attempts. And the defense held Boston College out of the end zone, showing some of the bending but none of the breaking that nearly cost the Irish everything last week against Pittsburgh.
BC came into the game with a buzzing crowd of 44,500 and a history of ruining perfect Irish seasons — a rivalry game in prime time injecting some life into a miserable two-win campaign. But the Irish took the life right out of the Eagles and the crowd with two cruelly efficient first-half scoring drives, led by a sharp, dual-threat Everett Golson (16-of-24, 201 yards, 2 TD) at quarterback.
Golson led the Irish 95 yards on 13 plays on Notre Dame’s first possession of the game, topping it off with a 2-yard touchdown run. BC responded with a long drive that stretched inside the Notre Dame 10 before Prince Shembo picked up one of his three sacks, forcing the Eagles to settle for a 36-yard Nate Freese field goal.
After a George Atkinson III fumble — one of two lost fumbles on the day for the Irish, the only blemish on the night — the Irish defense forced a quick punt and Golson again went to work. He marched the Irish 87 yards on 16 plays and finding Troy Niklas for a 7-yard touchdown. The drive ate up more than eight minutes and sent Notre Dame into the locker room up 14-3.
The Irish continued grinding the Eagles into the ground after halftime, starting the third quarter with a comparatively brief nine-play, 70-yard drive that ended in Golson scrambling to his right before throwing across his body and across the field to a wide-open John Goodman — in the game after DaVaris Daniels apparently hurt his shoulder attempting to make a catch — in the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown and a 21-3 lead.
Neither team — nor the lulled-to-sleep crowd, for that matter — made much noise the rest of the way, aside from a BC field goal and Manti Te’o’s ND-record sixth interception, as the Irish ran out the clock on another marginally impressive, but mammothly important victory.