Ladies and Gents, welcome to the latest edition of the running diary. Tonight we come to you live from college football headquarters in Arlington, VA. A victory tonight could spur a turnaround for the Irish while a loss could…you know what, let’s not even think about losing.
8:01 Matt Millen is our color guy. What a treat.
8:03 We kick things off with a montage of highlights from previous ND-BC matchups over the last two decades. For some reason they leave out the 2002 game—not that I’m complaining.
8:08 Spent five minutes trying to work our god-forsaken DVR and rewatch the montage. They showed a clip of Malcolm Johnson in the stands after the goal line stand in ’98 and that’s exactly where I was sitting that day. Unfortunately I did not sneak into the montage though and now my blood pressure is already to Ben Turk shanked punt levels. FIOS: your DVR is terrible.
8:12 They zoom in on the ND cheerleaders and then the leprechaun, which leads Matt Millen to chime in with a leprechaun voice. I bet he did that at least once a day in the office when he was GM of the Lions.
8:13 Bennett Jackson takes the opening kickoff to the 49! Who would have thought this kid would’ve made this sort of impact through 4+ games? I realize it’s only been on special teams, but he was one of our lowest rated recruits and a lot of people questioned taking him so early in the process when we were so deep at WR and supposed to be chasing only high profile targets.
8:14 Crist completes a pass when he’s flushed to his left and hits Goodman for a first down. It wasn’t pretty, but it’s a big improvement—rolling left is not a strength.
8:15 ARMANDOOOOOO ALLEN WITH A HUGE RUN AND THE IRISH ARE ALREADY INSIDE THE 10. He darts 30 yards to the right, breaking tackles along the way and putting a nasty move on the one defensive back. This is not a run he would’ve made last year. Great start.
8:16 TOUCHDOWNNNNNN IRISH!!!!!!!! Dayne Crist takes a QB read to the right corner of the endzone for an easy touchdown. Wow, talk about a perfect first drive. The air has been totally sucked out of the stadium. I can’t remember an opening drive that looked so effortless. And the best part: it was basically all on the ground.
8:20 Three and out for the Eagles on their first possession. On third down Rettig had a guy open for the first down and just threw behind him; looked jittery. After a weak punt the Irish take over at their own 38 and BC is in serious trouble.
8:24 Offsides on first down from BC sets up a 1st and 5 that Cierre Wood converts with his first carry.
8:25 Crist is almost intercepted on first down, Goodman drops a pass on second down, Hughes drops a pass on third down, and it’s time for a punt. Sloppy passes by Dayne on all three downs. Ben Turk trots out and predictably unleashes a terrible 33 yard punt that limps inside the 20.
8:27 Kelly gets in Ben Turk’s face and essentially tells him if he doesn’t yank his head out of his ass and start punting like a college level athlete he’s going to put him in the torture rack right on the sideline. I love it, this should've happened three weeks ago.
8:29 Another three and out for BC. Their offense is terrrrrible. More good field position after another weak punt.
8:33 First play from scrimmage is a bomb down the right sideline to Floyd that draws pass interference. Only good things happen when you throw it to him and keep it in the field of play. Move those chains baby!
8:34 Crist delivers a bullet to Floyd on third down for a nice 18-yard pickup. Great throw and great catch. You can just tell the electricity in the stadium has cooled off due to the effectiveness of our offense and how incredibly bad their offense has been. The feel of the stadium through the screen is “we’re screwed…how long do we have to stay until we can go start drinking again?”
8:36 Kelly calls timeout right before ND converted a 3rd and inches. Guess he didn’t like what he saw…
8:40 Crist converts a 3rd and short with a quarterback sneak. Irish ball inside the 15.
8:42 Armando takes a swing pass for a 10 yard gain and a first and goal inside the two yard line…ok, apparently it’s not a first down, setting up 3rd and about an inch.
8:43 TOUCHDOOOOOOOOWN IRISH! Another easy touchdown, this time on a little play-action pass to a wide open Kyle Rudolph. 14-0 Irish. This is—dare I say it—relaxing.
8:46 Chase Rettig throws another terrible ball on first down. His receiver was open, but it wouldn’t have mattered because there’s a hold! Back it uppppp.
8:47 CARLOOOOO comes BUSTING through the line for a loss in the backfield. I love this kid, he just lays the wood. That sets up a 2nd and 23. I wouldn’t normally feel confident that this was enough yardage to ensure a stop, but man BC is horrendous.
8:48 Rettig is almost picked off again and it’s another hold! We’ll decline, thanks. 3rd and 23.
8:48 Little screen pass is stopped behind the line of scrimmage and BC is punting again. The punt is shanked but it rolls for like 20 yards so it turns out decent.
8:50 TJ Jones with a reception on first down for 14 yards. This is not the BC defense that I’m used to facing—we’re not doing anything spectacular and they’re just getting rolled.
8:52 Dayne Crist finds Michael Floyd down the sideline for a 35-yard gain on third down and the Irish are inside the 20.
8:53 A graphic just popped up to say we’re averaging 7+ yards per play and BC is averaging 0.1. I love it, this is how ND-BC games should go.
8:53 TOUCHDOWN IRISH! THEO RIDDICK THIS TIME IS WIDE OPEN AND WALTZES INTO THE ENDZONE UNTOUCHED. 21-0 IRRRRIIIIIISSSSSSHHHHHH! We have an absolute stranglehold on this game right now; they look lost on defense and even more lost on offense.
8:58 Well I blinked and Boston College scored a touchdown. Gary Gray just got roasted on a double move. Rettig throws it down the right sideline to another true freshman who takes it 58 yards to the house. He could’ve cartwheeled in the endzone if he wanted. It was a good move, but you can’t allow yourself to get deep. It’s probably just as much Diaco’s fault as it is Gray’s. Is there any chance in hell they’re going to be able to piece together a long drive?!?! It’s somewhere between 0% and .01%. Just so dumb. Now the crowd is back into it. Come on Irish, let’s snuff this out and not let them back in this game.
9:00 End of the first quarter with ND driving at midfield. The Irish hold a 179 to 69 edge in yardage—and 58 BC yards came on one play. We also have ten first downs compared to their one. We are flatout DOMINATING. That slip-up on the TD was annoying, but it’s a little easier to swallow when we’re in the process of steamrolling a team.
9:05 First play of the second quarter is a fumble by Cierre Wood…he never secured the ball, never had a handle on it, and it popped out with barely any contact. He’s about to fall to about 45th on the depth chart. Is it too much to ask for our team to just rout a team start to finish? Boston College takes over right around midfield.
9:06 First play is a quick pass to Montel Harris in the flat that Te’o and Blanton sniff out and stuff for a loss.
9:11 After a timeout Rettig completes a good pass on 2nd down and then scrambles for the first down the next play. BC’s now inside the 35.
9:13 Rettig gets absolutely rocked on third down by Steve Filer (Millen pronounces it Filler…way to do your homework Matt) and it falls incomplete bringing up 4th down.
9:14 Boston College bangs home a 49-yard field goal. That’s a three point gift we just gave them. 21-10 Irish. Why must we let them crawl back in the game? I wanted 49-0, is that not reasonable?
9:19 Three and out for the Irish. Another punt that travels less than 40 yards for Turk. If I type what I just yelled this would move from PG-13 to TV-MA. Go away and don’t come back until you learn how to punt, Ben.
9:20 Rettig got knocked out of the game and now we have a sophomore in the game at quarterback: Mike Marscovetra. One step closer to Shinskie!
9:22 Three and out for the Eagles. They’re so bad, the only way they’re going to have a chance is if we hand this game to them. Unfortunately we can’t rule that possibility out. Can we piece together a drive here?
9:24 First play is a run for little to no yardage, second play is a sack. The offensive line doesn’t look good at all right now after dominating in the first quarter. We’ve got 3rd and 16 coming up.
9:24 Armando Allen fumbles and Boston College takes over at the Irish 14. You’ve got to be kidding me. WHY THE HELL CAN’T WE JUST BURY ONE TEAM?!?!?! JUST ONE. Come on defense, HOLD.
9:26 Three plays, five yards, and it’s time for a field goal. It splits the uprights and the lead has been cut down to 21-13. This Boston College team is TERRIBLE. They didn’t fight their way back into this game; we DRAGGED their dead carcass of a squad back into it. Our two fumbles haven’t been due to big hits—they were due to stupid lack of focus and an inability to simply secure the ball.
9:30 Bennett Jackson takes it out to about the 40 yard line and you can tack on another 15 yards thanks to a late hit. ND ball at the BC 46 yard line.
9:31 First play is a shovel pass to Armando Allen that goes for a great 24 yard gain. Come on boys, punch it in.
9:33 The drive stalls—Crist missed a wide open Michael Floyd for the first down and forces a pass to Kyle Rudolph in the endzone. Ruffer comes out and drills a 37 yard field goal to put ND up 24-13. I love Dayne but he’s got a long way to go. Disappointing but at least we put something on the board.
9:37 SEAN MCDONOUGH, STOP CALLING BC A HUGE RIVAL OF NOTRE DAME. Please refer to this article and more specifically the pie charts from Her Loyal Sons.
9:37 BC takes over at the 28-yard line. McDonough says that Shinskie has his helmet on! I’m giddy!
9:39 Another three and out for the Eagles. BC QB #2 is now 1 of 4 for 7 yards. We’re so close to Shinskie time I can taste it…
9:41 Our response is a three and out. We look totally out of sync and the BC defense is gaining confidence. Turk actually kicks a good one 43 yards with no return.
9:43 Gary Gray falls down on the coverage and BC completes a first down for 21 yards. Thankfully it’s backed up a bit by an unnecessary roughness penalty, but it’ll still be a first down. Gray is having a terrible day.
9:45 Robert Blanton comes on a corner blitz and crushes Marscovetra, setting up a third and long.
9:46 Harris takes a draw up the middle to make it 4th and short. Spaziani calls timeout to figure out what to do, only 12 seconds left.
9:48 BC punts, ND is going to take a knee and end the half leading 24-13.
9:50 Heather Cox (who is actually a really good sideline reporter, though she’s not an MD like our girl Alex Flanagan) asks Spaziani what adjustments they made to slow down Notre Dame. He responds, “Our defensive adjustments were that they just started handing us the ball, we just picked it up.” Doesn’t that just make you want to throw up? Why the hell do we insist on making things more difficult than they have to be?
Certainly not the first half I expected. The Irish offense came out with guns ablazin’ and then decided, “you know what…I’m uncomfortable with being way ahead…let’s let them come back!” Every one of their 13 points were off of stupid mental errors by Notre Dame. I knew BC’s offense wasn’t very good going into the game but I’m staggered with how bad it is seeing it in live and living color. Their quarterbacks are just horrendous.
10:11 Ruffer starts off the half by kicking it out of bounds. Unbelievable. Is there a rule about not winning by more than two touchdowns? BC takes over at the 40.
10:12 Te’o blows up a run on second down to set up a 3rd and 5. Come on, let’s get a three and out here.
10:13 Pass interference called on Gary Gray. Questionable call but the bad night for Gray continues.
10:13 BC goes deep and it should’ve been picked off by Darrin Walls but it falls incomplete. Walls was way too nonchalant about letting that pass drop for my liking. Whenever Blanton comes close to intercepting a ball his body language says: “Dammit, I should’ve intercepted that.” I really like Darrin and I love that he came back after a year off but his career has undeniably been a disappointment.
10:14 Marscovetra rolls out to the right and is forced out of bounds for a loss while his line is flagged for holding. Kelly accepts the penalty instead of bringing up 3rd and long, which is an interesting call that either shows faith in his defense or it’s a blatant slap in the face of the BC offense. Probably leaning toward the latter.
10:15 Next play is a screen that’s totally blown up by Gary Gray for a loss proving Kelly’s minor gamble correct.
10:17 The Eagles’ third down attempt comes up short, but a great punt pins the Irish at the 1-yard line. Come on Irish, nothing would kill BC’s spirit like a methodical, 99-yard drive down their throats.
10:19 Notre Dame goes three and out, which is the opposite of a 99-yard methodical drive. A 42-yard punt by Turk gives BC the ball at the 50.
10:21 Two BC passes, two gifts for Notre Dame. The first one was on a flea flicker where the receiver had Blanton and Hayseed beat but he took a terrible route to the ball and didn’t come down with it. Second one was to an open receiver just short of the first down marker that was dropped. Sets up a nice 3rd and 10, which might as well be 3rd and 100 for this offense.
10:22 Carlo Calabrese comes up with a sack to force a punt. Good job there by the defense. A nice shanked punt gives the Irish the ball at their own 24. Come on boys, let’s get it together here.
10:25 Crist completes a pass to Michael Floyd on the left sideline for a nice 14-yard gain and a first down. Good start for Dayne, he needs to get in rhythm here.
10:27 BC forces a third down but Crist completes a long pass from the right hash to the left sideline to John Goodman for a first down. Great, strong throw there. The Irish are in BC territory.
10:28 A pair of Armando runs picks up another first down at the 37. Let’s give’m a heavy dose of the run here, blow’em off the ball.
10:29 They show a kid in the Boston College student section holding a sign that reads: “ND REJECT, COULDN’T BE HAPPIER.” Whatever helps you sleep at night buddy.
10:30 The Irish were faced with a third down but Theo Riddick went down and made a great catch to pick up the first down.
10:31 A bubble screen on second down to Riddick goes for another first down inside the 10. It’s 1st and goal from the 6. This is a great drive that deserves six points—let’s get this in the endzone.
10:33 A fade to Michael Floyd in the right corner falls incomplete but the BC cornerback is flagged for pass interference setting up 1st and goal at the 2. Repeat after me: throw a decent jump ball to Michael Floyd and good things will happen.
10:33 TOUCHDOWN ARMANDO ALLEN. He went right up the middle and was barely touched. What a fantastic drive: 14 plays, 76 yards in 4:44. That just zapped the life out of the stadium and could’ve crushed the BC defense’s spirit. We get a three and out and one more TD drive like that and you can officially put this game to bed. 31-13 Irish.
10:42 Three and out for BC. Man, they’re awful. A decent punt gives us the ball on our own 32. Let’s CRUSH them boys, make this a blowout.
10:44 Sean McDonough says he talked to Brian Kelly before the game and asked whether he ever went and watched BC games growing up since he lived just down the road. The answer was no, probably because BC Football is the 7th or 8th most relevant team in the Boston Metropolitan Area…and Alumni Stadium is essentially a high school stadium so it’s not like he missed much. I get the feeling that the majority of people who live in Boston really don’t like BC.
10:45 Three and out for ND. Damn. At least we didn’t turn it over I guess. AND TURK BOOOOMS A 52-YARD PUNT. I JUST STOOD UP AND GAVE HIM A STANDING OVATION IN MY LIVING ROOM. NOW GO DO THAT EVERY TIME!
10:46 Montel Harris gets stuffed by Te’o for a loss. He has had absolutely nowhere to go—28 yards on 15 carries thus far.
10:47 Prince Shembo gets a piece of the action sacking Marscotreva on third down to force a punt! He’s apparently really impressed in practice and passed a lot of upperclassmen on the depth chart. Hopefully he’s got a long, successful career laid out in front of him.
10:49 The Irish try a little trickeration with a double pass from Goodman that it just a shade long for Theo Riddick. That would’ve been pouring salt in the wounds.
10:50 A graphic flashes across the screen that lets us know BC has -16 rushing yards in the third quarter! When is the last time we shut someone down like this? Was it under Davie?
10:58 Irish drive stalls and they’re forced to punt. Turk pins them at the 12. This 18-point lead is sooooo comfortable. We haven’t done much this second half but we haven’t beat ourselves. Frankly, I’ll take it.
10:59 Brian Smith makes a great open field tackle to force another three and out. I don’t know whose offense was worse: Washington State last year or this BC outfit. That’s a terrible conversation to be in if you fancy yourself a respectable program…which I think BC does.
11:05 Another three and out for ND. This is the most boring game ever. You know, we need more of these boring wins. It’d be good for the collective health of the Irish fan base. I am perfectly content. Turk pins the Eagles at the 14.
11:06 How does ABC spice things up? With a shot of the Pride of Boston College in a luxury suite, Chris O’Donnell! When you get annoyed as an ND student/fan about being asked how frequently you watch Rudy just remember that BC students get the question “do you guys watch Vertical Limit like all the time?”
11:10 BC takes a step forward with a first down but immediately steps backwards with an offensive pass interference penalty. Brutal.
11:12 Interception by Robert Blanton! Great job by RJ reading the quarterback, tipping the ball in the air, and then coming down with it.
11:15 Notre Dame picks up a first down but the drive stalls at the 33. Dayne threw a great ball to Goodman that should’ve been good for a first down but Goodman just dropped it. Kelly is not happy about it. It’s 4th down and Kelly sends the offense back on the field to try to pick up the seven yards instead of risking ruining David Ruffer’s perfect field goal record.
11:17 Crist throws an interception on 4th down and Brian Kelly goes to work verbally assaulting him on the sideline. An illegal block puts the Eagles back at the 11 though, which means they have a .002% chance of scoring.
11:22 Perhaps I spoke too soon…BC rips off two big gains and they’re at the Irish 49 against the second string Notre Dame defense. Swigert catches another deep one for 21 yards and the Eagles are inside the 30. This Swigert kid is their entire offense—he’s got 137 yards so far. I remember the message boards debates about whether we should offer him a scholarship. He’s going to be a thorn in our side over the course of his career in Chestnut Hill but I can’t say I’m upset about our decision to not pursue him.
11:23 Kelly saw enough so he threw the starters back in for a play and Harrison Smith promptly intercepted a long pass over the middle. That’s better.
11:26 The backups are getting some time on offense as well, namely Tommy Rees.
11:28 Three straight handoffs to Robert Hughes go for about six yards, which brings on Ben Turk for his eighth punt of the night. After a couple nice punts in a row this one gets filed in the stinker category (34 yards). I’m much more forgiving when we’re stomping an opponent.
11:35 The game mercifully comes to an end for the hapless Eagles. It wasn’t pretty but it a win is a win.
So what did we learn tonight? Not all that much.
* The first thing is that Boston College is really, really bad. If they make it to a bowl then the ACC is the worst conference in America. They would be a .500 team in the MAC. Herbstreit may have watched the film on Notre Dame before this game but he obviously didn’t watch any on BC.
* Our offense still has a long way to go. We started out great but then nearly let them back in the game with stupid mistakes.
* Really we didn’t learn much about the defense other than the fact that they can smother a high school caliber offense. There were some open receivers that the BC quarterbacks just missed and some good throws that were just dropped. I cannot overstate how terrible Boston College’s offense is.
* Ben Turk is capable of kicking a ball 50 yards in the air. The next step is doing it with an iota of consistency.
* Chris O’Donnell went to BC! It’s fitting that even in Hollywood Boston College had to settle for being Robin.
Even though we didn’t learn all that much about ourselves it was good to put Fredo in its place for the first time in a long time. Judging by the talent gap on the field tonight it’s going to be a long time until they’re back to giving us a hard time.