Mac attack: Kyle McCarthy comes through again

McCarthy made two big interceptions down the stretch in Notre Dame's 20-16 win over Boston College, and got a helping hand from teammates on both occasions.

Senior strong safety Kyle McCarthy had three interceptions entering Saturday's game against Boston College, so it's no surprise that when the Irish needed a defender to step up and make a big play, he was there.

On the first pick, defensive end Kerry Neal pressured Eagles quarterback Dave Shinskie, and McCarthy intercepted the errant throw. McCarthy returned the interception 20 yards to the Notre Dame 43, setting up a long drive that ended up a yard short of a touchdown.

On the second, Raeshon McNeal tipped a pass that was intercepted by McCarthy on the ND 26, and the senior took it seven yards to the 33 late in the fourth quarter. ND was forced to punt, and Brian Smith sealed the win with his own interception two plays after BC converted a fourth-and-17 to the Notre Dame 31.

McCarthy, as usual, singled out the teammates who helped him make those big plays.

"The defensive line was getting some pressure on the first one, and on the second one Raeshawn made a great play undercutting the route and tipped it to me," McCarthy said.

"I get the credit for it, but they made the play."

Coach speak

First-season Boston College head coach Frank Spaziani is in his 13th year on the BC staff. Though obviously disappointed after the 20-16 loss, he nevertheless found a couple of moments for levity in the postgame press conference.

Of junior ND quarterback Jimmy Clausen, a top NFL prospect, he jokingly said, "I'm encouraging Jimmy to come out (for the draft). I think that'd be a good move for him."

Of his own quarterback, 25-year-old freshman Dave Shinskie, a former minor league baseball player, facing a pressure-filled late-game atmosphere at Notre Dame, Spaziani said, "I don't care how old Uncle Dave is, he's a true freshman."

On the ground

Notre Dame's Armando Allen ran hard, broke tackles and found room against Boston College, finishing with 21 carries for 98 yards.

"When you're running behind an offensive line like that, you can't go wrong," Allen said.

Allen has 514 yards on the ground this season. At 5-10 and 200 pounds, he can no longer be considered an undersized, speed-only back.

"I've put on a couple pounds, to take on a couple hits," he said.

Home-run hitter

Golden Tate made the biggest offensive play of the game, catching a short Clausen pass and turning it into a 36-yard third-quarter touchdown.

Notre Dame had been throwing short all game long against the Eagles. This time, BC's defensive look was a little different.

"I knew that the corner was backing off of me. I didn't know that the linebacker was coming under me," Tate said of the defender who appeared to have a shot at Clausen's pass to Tate on the left side.

"Usually he doesn't make those throws," Tate said. "I guess he just had confidence in his arm."

Tate eluded one tackle attempt and juked another defender on his way into the end zone.

"It's just my nature. I always want to make a little more than just a catch," he said.

So close

Notre Dame used its short passing attack to embark on a third-quarter drive from the Irish 43 all the way down to the goal line, with Clausen contributing a couple of key scrambles, before facing a fourth and goal at the 1.

Running back Robert Hughes took a direct snap and appeared on his way to score, but he was leveled by Boston College safety Marcellus Bowman. No gain, turnover on downs.

Fortunately for the Irish, the defense held and forced a punt, and a few plays later Tate found the end zone.

"If we get stopped, it's going to be inside the 1-yard line, the defense will stop (BC) and we will get right back there and score," Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis said of his thinking on the fourth-down attempt. "Unfortunately we didn't get in, but fortunately the rest of the thought process worked out as planned." Top Stories