Hard-fought for four quarters

Even though Boston College came in at 3-7, Notre Dame didn't have an easy time a week after blowing out a similarly struggling Atlantic Coast Conference team, Maryland, on the road. The Irish survived 16-14, improving to 8-3 heading into a huge road matchup with Stanford.

But one of their biggest weapons may be sidelined for the season.

Senior Day started off great for surging running back Jonas Gray with an early touchdown, but he came up limping after catching a short pass near the Notre Dame sideline.

"Knee injury," coach Brian Kelly said after the game. "We've got him immobilized right now. He'll get an MRI tomorrow and we'll know more on Monday."

Kelly said Gray addressed the team after the game, and the coach and Gray's teammates said the senior is remaining optimistic.

The early going was all Gray, as Notre Dame jumped ahead on its opening drive, then settled in for a defensive slugfest. Gray carried three times for 39 yards on Notre Dame's first possession, scoring on a 26-yard run on third and one.

It was the fifth opening drive for a touchdown in the last seven games for the Irish, and sixth scoring drive out of seven.

A 40-yard David Ruffer field goal made it 10-0 midway through the first quarter.

After that, Boston College fought the hosts to a standstill, using an over-the-middle-focused passing attack to find the end zone. Josh Bordner brought the Eagles within a field goal, scoring on a 2-yard run.

Ruffer extended the lead to 16-7 with a 27-yard field goal midway through the fourth. The Eagles scored a late touchdown on a 7-yard pass from Chase Rettig to Bobby Swigert.

Boston College tried an onside kick, but Notre Dame wide receiver Robby Toma recovered it.

Notre Dame's defense stepped up against a misfiring Eagles defense. Rettig threw 10 incompletions at one point. The Irish also avoided crucial mistakes, committing only one turnover, a Tommy Rees interception.

"Our defense played very, very well today," Kelly said. "We found a way to win.

Toma was among the Irish offensive players who stepped up, catching five passes for 65 yards in his second strong game. Michael Floyd caught 10 passes for 92 yards.

Rees, booed on a couple of occasions after shaky series, completed 24-of-39 passes for 256 yards.

Cierre Wood ran 26 times for 94 yards and is right around the thousand-yard mark for the season.

Gray finished with 61 yards on 11 carries.

In a field-position struggle, a key performer was punter Ben Turk, who punted eight times for an average of 44 yards.

"I think he did really well," Kelly said. "It's not always up and down the field. Sometimes you've got to block and tackle and grind it out and find a way to win."

Whether they will find a way in California next week remains to be seen. Losing Jonas Gray would be a major blow. The senior completed a major turnaround and has become one of Notre Dame's most indispensable players. His production won't be easy to replace.

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