Copyright by Global Electronic Telecommunications, publishers of IrishEyes™
October 27, 2001
In Finding Ways to Lose
By Alan Tieuli
The IrishEyes.Com NewsService
CHESTNUT HILL, MA (IE) – These are the games Notre Dame used to win. These are the games Notre Dame never wins, it seems.
"We're finding ways to lose, no question," said linebacker Tyreo Harrison after the 3-4 Irish fell to Boston College, 21-17, this evening despite having a remarkable 21-minute edge in time of possession. "We make plays, we show promise, we show improvement, but it's not enough.
"It never seems to be enough."
Even the month of October – normally the only saving grace for Bob Davie in his star-crossed tenure – couldn't rescue the Irish on this night. Davie's 16-game winning streak in this month came to a halt because William Green was the best tailback on the field and Julius Jones wasn't.
An oversimplification, perhaps, but Green accounted for 262 of his team's 354 total yards, including a 71-yard touchdown run and a 70-yard scoring reception. Jones, with Notre Dame trailing by four in the fourth quarter, fumbled a simple pitch on first down from the BC-22 and then, on the next possession, was stuffed for a one-yard loss on third-and-one from the BC 16. The Irish turned the ball over on downs one unfortunate play call later.
"To lose a game when we run 82 plays and they run 47 is unbelievable, just unbelievable," said Davie, whose team dipped below .500 late in the season for the third time in five years. "We did some good things, but we made some mistakes that really hurt."
Despite it all, the Irish had a legitimate chance to win, in a fashion that may have invigorated Notre Dame Nation. With 2:08 remaining – and the visitors out of timeouts – Harrison perfectly executed a plug stunt up the "A gap" and stripped the football cleanly away from a stunned Green, running a simple off-tackle on second-and-nine. Notre Dame took over on the BC-35 while a sell-out crowd of 45,000 at Alumni Stadium sat stunned.
On first down, quarterback Carlyle Holiday (eight-for-17, 74 yards; 109 yards rushing) scrambled for two yards. On the play he was driven to the phony turf hard by BC's Josh Ott and bruised his right knee.
"I wanted to come back after a play but the doctors wouldn't let me," said Holiday. "It was kind of frustrating."
Sophomore Matt LoVecchio replaced Holiday and showed real onions in completing a nine-yard pass to Arnaz Battle on fourth and seven, setting up an Irish first-down on the BC 23 with 1:26 to play. But then the Irish came apart again because of a combination of questionable coaching and flawed performance.
"That was a real tough situation to put the kid in,"said offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers. "Then I didn't help things. I called the quarterback draw (on second-and-seven from the 20) and Carlyle would have been more suited for that." BC stuffed LoVecchio for no gain on the draw and LoVecchio misfired on a third-down pass between the hash-marks to David Givens.
On fourth down, with the BC crowd in full throat, a cold wind blowing in off the Chestnut Hill Reservoir and an ESPN national audience probably fully expecting the Irish to fail, LoVecchio was sacked by defensive end Sean Guthrie.
"I had no doubt with Matt coming in, I thought we were going to win the foo