Boston College is a good football team. This Eagle team isn't afraid of anyone. This BC team walked into Miami and played them straight up for 3 quarters of football. They played with Virginia Tech the entire game and could've won. They lost in overtime to a very good Pittsburgh team. This is the best 4-3 team in the country right now, I am just not sure they know that at this point.
Quarterback Brian St. Pierre leads Boston College. St. Pierre is a solid quarterback completing 60% of his passes. He has thrown for 11 touchdowns this year but has thrown 9 interceptions as well. When St. Pierre is throwing, he is likely going to throw to Jamal Burke or Keith Hemmings. Grant Adams also has 20 catches this year. St. Pierre does a nice job of getting all his receivers into the game. Derrick Knight leads the ground attack. Knight has rushed for 736 yards and averages 5.5 yards a carry. Boston College has a nice balance of running and throwing the football. They average about 150 yards a game on the ground and 235 yards through the air. BC doesn't have a player that will scare you like William Green last year.
The Eagle defense has been pretty good as well. Their defense probably played their best game last week against Pitt where they allowed just one touchdown. If they have a weakness, it's their run defense where they have given up some yards. They allowed Miami to run for 182 yards, Virginia Tech ran for 334 yards and Navy was able to manage 380 yards. They surrendered 8 total touchdowns on the ground in those three games. Their pass defense has only surrendered 6 touchdowns all year. This defense has only allowed 16 touchdowns all year, one less than the Irish defense.
Boston College is a good football team and I think some people don't want to believe that. They have a balanced offense and a very good defense. If this team plays mistake-free football on Saturday, they are going to be very difficult to beat.
One factor that could easily play a part is the psychology in this game. Notre Dame is entering the game sky high after a huge win over Florida State. Boston College is entering the game after a crushing defeat in overtime to Pitt. Will the Irish team be over confident and take BC too lightly? Will doubt start to surface in the minds of the BC players if they are behind? This should be very interesting to keep and eye on. I just don't see this Notre Dame team losing focus.
The Irish offense is going to have to pound the ball just as they did against Florida State. The Irish will have to stick to the running game but throw early and throughout game to keep the Eagle defense honest. This game will either be won or lost by the play of the Irish offensive line. If they can create running lanes for Ryan Grant and company, this should be a rather easy game for the Irish. If they can't run the football, the Irish are going to struggle all game.
With Cedric Hilliard out of the game, the Irish linebackers are going to have to have a big game. Big Ced was the rock inside that made if very difficult to run on this Irish defense. He was able to get penetration on most plays and that disrupts a running game. The linebackers are going to have to do a lot of clean up and stop Knight before he gets going. BC spreads the ball around so the Irish secondary will have to keep the BC wide receivers in front of them and make the sure tackle as they have most of the year. If the Irish defense can put pressure on St. Pierre, they should be able to handle the BC passing attack.
The Irish defense is like a pack of wild dogs. They smell blood and they go after it. Just like a pack of wild dogs, it's a team effort and that is why you have a different player stepping up each game. I think the Irish defense is going to smell blood early and make the critical play once again. It's always one play in the game for this Irish defense and then it's game over. I don't expect anything different this week.
These two teams are evenly matched on paper. If BC can play mistake-free football, Notre Dame is going to be in for a battle and could easily lose this game. This game will be about confidence. Notre Dame has confidence, I don't think Boston College does at this point. I am going to put my 8-0 record for picking the Irish on the line here. Notre Dame 31 Boston College 13.