Notre Dame, fresh off their first victory of the season over UCLA, will host the Eagles on Saturday afternoon. Kickoff is at 3:43 PM and NBC will have the national television broadcast. Boston College comes into the contest with a 6-0 record and ranked No. 4 in the country. The closest game the Eagles have been in was a 38-28 victory over Wake Forest. Notre Dame will look to unseat Boston College from the ranks of the unbeaten.
But the Irish can do much more. The roles have been reversed twice in this series with Boston College coming into the contest as the underdog. And both times the Eagles beat Notre Dame in South Bend late in the season. In 1993, David Gordon's 41-yard field goal silenced the Irish faithful and gave Boston College a 41-39 win. Notre Dame was 11-0 entering the game. In 2002, with the Irish at 8-0, a foolish Pat Dillingham interception that was returned for a touchdown was the difference in a 14-7 Eagles win. Five years later, the venue is the same but it's Boston College who has national title aspirations.
"We'd love very much to put a damper on their season," head coach Charlie Weis said. "But I think that we understand that they're playing very, very good football and they deserve a high ranking based off of their production. We're going to have to play a very good game to be able to win."
The series, which started back in 1973, has been followed by the Notre Dame head coach and Weis admires the types of individuals each team has on its roster.
"I think that growing up on the East Coast, a Catholic kid on the East Coast, and you were looking at universities, the two universities that were involved in Division I football that you knew very much about were Notre Dame and Boston College," Weis said. "I think the stereotype or the chemistry of the kids are very similar type of kids.
"I think that a better person to ask about their kids might be Barry (Gallup). I know a couple guys I've talked to today, but I think they're the same type of kids that go to both schools that academics are important to them and they're high character kids and there's an obvious rivalry between the two schools because they're very similar in nature."
***A week after being benched for a poor performance in the Michigan State contest, Geoff Price saw the field again in Notre Dame's win over UCLA. The fifth-year senior punter shanked several punts against the Spartans and was replaced by sophomore Eric Maust late in that contest and for the following week against Purdue.
Price responded with a big-time performance last Saturday night. The fifth-year senior booted the ball nine times for an average of 40.3 yards per punt. More importantly, Price pinned UCLA deep in their own territory to give Notre Dame the edge in the field position battle. This was a huge aspect of the contest, especially with Bruins quarterback Ben Olson knocked out of the game in the second quarter and both offenses struggling mightily to move the ball. Weis would like to see more performances like UCLA instead of Michigan State.
"The biggest problem he's had this year is inconsistency," Weis said. "We all know that he's got the leg that can hit the ball 70 yards. But when you go out in the game and hit two or three crummy ones and then drop a snap on top of it, at that position you can't hide.
"I never call a player out, but there's certain positions, the quarterback throws three interceptions, everybody in the stands sees it. An offensive lineman misses three blocks, you might not see it, depending on what happened on the play. But when a punter is out there and the ball goes 25 or 30 yards, it's tough to hide that.
"He's really working on his consistency. I think that last week with the exception of one kick that he didn't hit very well, he punted nine times and I think he had a very, very good day."
***Weis on trying to calm his players down on the sideline after the go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter in the victory over UCLA: "I did talk to them because they were so delirious on the sideline, and at the time we're up 13-6. I think what I was trying to do, I want them to enjoy touchdowns. I want them to be happy and be fired up and everything. But at the same time, we've got almost a half a game to go. We had just taken the lead. There's a lot of football yet to be played.
"I think that the (Maurice) Crum-(John) Ryan strip-sack fumble return for a touchdown really took some of the pressure off the rest of the game because the way the game was going, I think that as long as we didn't turn the ball over there was a good chance we were going to end up winning that game.
"But I think that it was a very good learning experience, and I think it allowed you a very good teaching lesson."