Irish Hopes Crushed Again By Eagles

It was a tale of two halves for the Irish on Saturday. The Irish dominated Boston College in the first half, including the 20-7 lead at the break, but the Eagles continued to be the thorn in Notre Dame's side, sneaking out of South Bend with the 24-23 victory on Saturday.

Eagle quarterback Paul Petersen took Boston College's opening drive and marched 86 yards on 12 plays for a Boston College score in what looked to be the setting of another Boston College upset.

Petersen was methodical and had the Irish back on their heels for their opening drive, but that was the only real threat the Eagles could muster in the first half as the Notre Dame defense stuffed the Boston College ground game and held Petersen in check.

The Irish responded to the challenge, first with Irish quarterback Brady Quinn finding senior Matt Shelton for 33 yards to tie the game 7-7 in the first quarter.

The Irish defense made a number of big plays in the first half as linebacker Mike Goolsby stepped in front of a Petersen pass returning it to the Boston College two-yard line for the first big play of the game for the Irish defense.

Quarterback Brady Quinn would later sneak in from the one-yard line to give the Irish the 14-7 lead.

The Irish offense then took their next drive 91 yards on 13 plays and scored again. This time it was freshman running back Darius Walker with the nine-yard scamper to put the Irish up another score in what looked to be an Irish rout.

But the usually reliable D.J. Fitzpatrick missed the point after attempt to give the Irish the 20-7 lead at halftime, and that might've been the first sign of what was to come later.

The Irish defense would make another big play on the next Boston College possession. This time it was linebacker Derek Curry stepping in front of a Peterson pass and returning it to the Eagle 28-yard line.

But the Irish missed their golden opportunity to put the game out of reach. An incomplete pass on first down, followed by a holding penalty took the Irish out of field goal range, and ended the Irish threat with zero points as the Irish left the field at half with the 20-7 lead.

It was all Boston College in the third quarter.

The Eagles amassed 202 yards in the third quarter to just 14 for Notre Dame, including a Peterson pass to Joel Hazzard to narrow the Notre Dame lead, 20-14, with 3:53 left on the clock in the third quarter.

The Eagles would add a Ryan Ohliger 21-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter narrowing the lead to 20-17.

The Irish took their next possession and advanced to the Eagle 30-yard line, but Irish coach Tyrone Willingham decided to punt instead of try a 47-yard field goal—a decision that might've been the difference in the game.

The Irish did take their next possession and advanced to the Boston College 25-yard line before Fitzpatrick connected on a 43-yard field goal to increase the Irish lead, 23-17.

With 2:51 left to go in the game, Eagle quarterback Paul Peterson again led his team on a drive. Peterson connected on three passes advancing the Eagles to their own 45-yard line.

The Irish defense then held for three-straight plays forcing the Eagles into a fourth-and-13 situation with the game on the line.

But Peterson found receiver Larry Lester along the sidelines for 17 yards and kept the drive alive.

The Eagle quarterback then found receiver Tony Gonzalez for 30 yards with 0:54 left to go in the game for the Eagle touchdown and the 24-23 lead.

The Irish and quarterback Brady Quinn would later move the ball to the Boston College 37-yard line, but D.J. Fitzpatrick missed on a rushed 55-yard field goal attempt ending any hope of a comeback, and giving the Eagles their fourth-straight victory over the Irish, 24-23.

Eagle's quarterback Paul Peterson finished the game 27-of-41 for 383 yards and two touchdowns on the day and stealing yet another victory from the Irish.

Irish coach Tyrone Willingham said his team let an important opportunity slip away on Saturday.

"They did a good job against us," said Willingham of Boston College. "We missed a great number of opportunities during the game, whether it be a missed tackle or a play.

"We didn't give ourselves the opportunity to make a play. They made the plays. They ran routes in the flats; we missed tackles. They didn't do anything different than from what we saw. They just made plays. That might be a simplistic answer, but that's what it came down to."

"Their guy made a good play on the ball and we didn't," said Willingham about the game-winning touchdown catch by Tony Gonzalez. "They did a good job of making plays in the second half. We didn't."

The Irish had their shot at kicking a field goal early in the fourth quarter, but Willingham decided to pooch punt instead. The result was just 15 yards gained by the decision.

"I thought the distance was a little extreme for the wind that was blowing," said Willingham about deciding to punt instead of attempt a field goal. "I thought we could pin then down there and then rely on the defense."

Willingham said the loss hurts, but his team will have to move on as they still have three games left to play this season.

"Yes, it hurts. We let it slip out of our hands," he said. "This was an important game for the season, for the program. You know that I don't dwell on the past. We have to move on to the future and continue to work to get better." Top Stories