CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Notre Dame promised that things would be different for the Boston College game and there were some changes, but none for the better.
Notre Dame played by far its worst game of the season in a 17-0 loss at BC. It is difficult to say if the Irish were inconsistent or were just consistently bad. The Irish offense gained 292 total yards and the only drives that it did put together ended with turnovers.
Weis had a talk with his quarterback in the fourth quarter.
"I talked to him before the game was even over," Weis said. "I think it goes back to trying to make plays and when you're trying to make plays that sometimes aren't there to be made, you're pressing."
The Notre Dame defense did its best to keep the team in the game, limiting Boston College to just 246 total yards and holding Boston College quarterback Chris Crane to 9-22 for 79 yards.
The Irish hurt themselves with penalties all night and it started on the game's first possession. A holding penalty wiped out a first down and a false start pushed them back even further, giving Boston College great field position for its opening drive.
"The offense was committing penalties early in the game that put them in bad down and distances," Charlie Weis said. "I felt that they pressed a good portion of the rest of the night."
The Eagles gained one first down on their initial possession, but the Irish defense forced a 34-yard attempt and Steve Aponavicius' kick bounced off the right upright.
Three straight Clausen incompletions led to another punt on Notre Dame's next drive and Aponavicius got another chance, capping off a 14-play, 73-yard drive with a 27-yard field goal to give BC a 3-0 with 1:46 left in the first quarter.
Notre Dame did not run a play in Boston College territory until midway through the second quarter. And on that play Clausen was picked off by Boston College's Paul Anderson, who returned it 76 yards for a touchdown that gave the Eagles a 10-0 lead with 6:19 left in the half.
Notre Dame finally put together a real drive in the final minutes of the half, reaching the BC 25-yard line before Clausen threw another interception, this time to Roderick Rollins to end the threat. BC took a knee and a 10-0 lead into the half.
The best thing that could be said about the first half was that Notre Dame was down just 10 and that it could not possibly play worse. Then in the second half the Irish did their best to prove that they could.
The Irish defense was able to force a three-and-out on the opening drive of the half and Notre Dame was set to have great field position, but Tate fumbled the punt and it was recovered by Brad Newman for Boston College at the Irish 47. The Eagles turned the miscue into points with a nine-yard scoring pass from Crane to Brandon Robinson that gave BC a 17-0 lead five minutes into the third quarter.
Notre Dame was forced to punt on its first offensive possession of the half and Maust's boot was blocked by Ifeanyi Momah and recovered by Codi Boek at the Irish 17. But the Irish defense again stayed tough, forcing a 32-yard field goal attempt that Aponavicius missed.
After a three-and-out on their second drive of the half, Tate tried to redeem himself by returning a punt 42 yards into BC territory, but the Notre Dame offense failed to convert a 4th-and-6 with three minutes left in the quarter.
The Eagles offense could not score and kept giving Notre Dame more chances, but the Irish kept refusing them. On its first possession of the fourth, Notre Dame pushed the ball into BC territory, but Clausen's third interception was Anderson's second as Clausen forced a pass to Rudolph in the end zone.
Another BC three-and-out was followed by another Notre Dame march into Eagles territory, but this time the Irish threat ended when they failed to convert a first down on 3rd-and-1 or 4th-and-1.
Notre Dame had one final shot to get on the scoreboard with three minutes left in the game, but Clausen was picked off inside Boston College's 10-yard line and the game was over.