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  • Irish Steamroll BC

    by John Vannie

    Brandon Wimbush and Josh Adams each ran for more than 200 yards as Notre Dame overcame a sluggish start to grind up outmanned Boston College by 49-20 on Saturday. Wimbush scored four touchdowns and ripped off several dazzling runs in leading the Fighting Irish to a 515-yard rushing day. Adams broke two 65-yarders in the first half to set up scores that staked Notre Dame to a surprisingly slim 14-10 lead over the pesky Eagles at intermission. The rout began in the third quarter, however, and never abated as the Irish defense forced turnovers and the offensive line opened massive holes. The victory lifts Notre Dame to 2-1 on the season while Boston College fell to 1-2.

    The first half was sloppy for both teams, with numerous penalties and punts. The Eagles managed a field goal early in the first period, but Adams answered on the next series with the first of his long runs to put the Irish at the BC two yard line. Wimbush scored on the next play for a 7-3 advantage. Anthony Brown capped a crisp drive for Boston College with a 22-yard touchdown pass to Charlie Callinan, and the hosts were back in front by 10-7 early in the second quarter. The punt-fest continued until Adams burst through the Eagle defense for another 65 yards. Wimbush ran for a first down before capping the drive with a sneak from a half yard out just two minutes before halftime.

    Notre Dame received the third quarter kickoff and proceeded to fumble the ball on its own 32. Another penalty killed the Eagles’ momentum and they settled for a field goal to trail by 14-13. As Irish fans shifted nervously on their barstools, the team began to take control of the game. The defense stuffed the Eagles on a fourth down play and rode a 46-yard sprint by Wimbush into the red zone. Tony Jones ran it in to extend the lead to 21-13 with five minutes left in the period. Moments later, an interception by Shaun Crawford gave the ball back to Adams and Wimbush, and it took only four plays to travel 75 yards for a 28-13 lead.

    Wimbush added a 65-yard touchdown run of his own to open the fourth quarter, and Dexter Williams came out of hiding to record two more scores later in the period after Eagle turnovers. Notre Dame’s passing game was not very impressive, but it did not matter on this day. Wimbush hit 11 of 24 tosses for 96 yards and one interception. Brown was 24 of 40 for the Eagles with two scores to Callinan and two interceptions. Tailback Jon Hilliman ran for 120 yards, most of which came in the first half when BC was competitive.

    Let’s take a look at the pregame questions:

    Which team will be able to establish a productive running game? I guess you could say that 515 yards is “productive”.

    Can the Irish tighten up their pass protection schemes against Landry and company? Landry was not a factor after the first quarter, but the Notre Dame passing game has many issues beyond the protection.

    Which quarterback will find ways to convert on third down? Neither team did particularly well in that department from a passing efficiency standpoint, but the Irish made this a non-issue.

    Will the Irish receivers help Wimbush by holding onto his passes? Durham Smythe had a nice grab, Alize Mack caught six balls, and Equanimeous St. Brown was shut out, mainly because Wimbush’s errant throws sailed over his head.

    Which special teams will have a positive impact on the outcome? The Eagles dominated the field position battle, but this advantage only managed to keep the game close in the first half.

    Will there be a Dexter Williams sighting in the Irish backfield? When Dexter was finally unleashed, he reminded us why we enjoy watching him so much.

    Can Notre Dame fix the bugs in Brian Kelly Version 2.0 in time for the post-game presser? Meet the new boss; same as the old boss. Actually, Brian was very composed in the second half after appearing to be constipated in the early going.

    As with Temple, the Irish ran over an overmatched opponent. The benchmark for this team will be whether they can beat quality competition, and a capable passing game is going to be needed when the running lanes are clogged. The parade of wide receivers in support of St. Brown has failed to yield a true threat, and Wimbush is hardly ever able to set his feet and throw the ball from the pocket with accuracy. Hopefully, the defense will continue to remain healthy and deny teams big plays and easy scores.

    37 Responses to “Irish Steamroll BC”

    1. Elkhart Joe says:

      How sweet it is. Hopefully they can keep it up the rest of the way. Was biting my nails there for a while and I don’t have very long nails!

    2. irishhawk50 says:

      Did I say 8-4? I mean’t 7-5. If Wimbush can’t complete a pass against BC then the Irish are in trouble. He can run up and down the field against the Temples and BC’s on the schedule, but at the end of the day a top tier time will load the box as Georgia did and force him to beat them with his arm which he has showed he can’t do. If there is not a vast improvement in the passing game ND will be in trouble even against Michigan State.

    3. Canada Kelly says:

      I am trying to remain positive with the win today, but am I the only ND fan who thinks Brian Kelly is still calling the plays. It seems like the same play calling from last year with the same results. The offense started to wear down BC as the game wore on,which is what should happen when you have better athletes, but can we beat the big dogs.Defence looked shaky today and qb needs to improve throwing the ball if we are to have a chance to win big games. Go Irish

      • I can’t see how anyone could think Kelly is calling the plays. I’ll give Long credit, he has stuck with the run game long after Kelly would have bagged it in the first quarter and started having Wimbush chuck it all over the field. Make no mistake, Long wants to run the football. My question is, do we have a running play that doesn’t involve pausing after the handoff?

        • yes whats with the pause? Long wants to run the football but theres no other choice WIMBUSH is so inaccurate with his passes!! He could b the worst passing QB weve had in a LONG time! So far in 3 games he only seems to get worse. MICH ST. will force Wimbush to beat them through the AIR!

        • That running play or runner should be Dexter Williams. Why Chip will not get him more touches is beyond me. the kid is lightning in a bottle every time he touches. I get that Josh is a beast and a better blocker but he gonna run out of gas if this pace keeps up. Why not have them on the field at the same time and run Josh as a FB and Dexter a tailback and give the defense something different to look at?

        • First series: three straight pass plays. That’s “sticking to the run”? That’s Kelly’s offense.

        • I think the pause is the read-option where Wimbush decides whether to go forward with the handoff or, if the linebackers are crashing on the gap the running back is supposed to hit, to pull it and try to beat the defense to the edge. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems like there’s a read-option element built into almost every running play we’re running now.

      • Yep. I get the feeling that Kelly is still calling plays, especially against Georgia. A man at his age and as stubborn as he wouldn’t let that go. If he has I am sure the OC feels pressure to call plays exactly the way Kelly likes.

      • The common theme has not changed. To be able to break a few long runs on the Temples and BC’s of the world looks good in the box score, but Georgia demonstrated you actually don’t even have to be all that great to totally shut down Chip Long’s idiotic read option. And frankly, I’m sure that for quite awhile during the game, Georgia football folks were asking themselves why they barely beat our Irish by just one point. You know, asking themselves if they were “that” bad. My buddy and I were monitoring a chat board and the comments were brutal…and well deserved. I have been supportive of BK since day one and I never thought it would come to this, but even with putting up 49 and getting a W, I wouldn’t be shocked if the Trustees, responding to pressure, give Jack an ultimatum to unload him. And to take Chip Long with him. Seriously, this is the worst play calling for a talented offense (assuming Wimbush can learn to through a forward pass) I have ever seen in my 71 years. I was at a game watch and everyone was screaming at the huge screen thinking Kelly and Long could hear us. And, if I don’t see 15 more carries for Dexter I’m going to shoot myself.

    4. Video – Notre Dame vs Boston College | 2017 Highlights Week 3

    5. I was hoping the offense would’ve established a passing attack by now. Perhaps short throws / screen action to give Wimbush some comfort? I feel less confident about Sparty next week as a result.

      Also, can someone explain to me why Dexter Williams doesn’t get more carries, isn’t the No. 2, and doesn’t get carries until the 4th quarter?

      96 yards passing just doesn’t cut it and he’s running way too much out there (more carries than Adams?! Absurd!)

      A win is a win though. Hopefully the fellas take the momentum and ride it into next week. They’ll need it.

    6. The score is deceiving. Yes it was domination by a more talented team and yes we needed that. But anyone who watched this game sees some huge glaring problems with the Irish team. they are not a very good team right now and they dominated ////bc because BC is a bad team.
      The passing game is in shambles. Excellent receivers can’t get their hands on the ball and some like CJ can’t even get in the game.
      The special teams continue to be among the worst in college football. This is clearly one area Kelly has excelled in. that is –he has consistently fielded horrible special teams every year. this is going to continue to hurt us in big games all year. Our punt return team has to be the worst in D I. We consistently had bad field position in the first half because of the inability to return a punt. Our punt team is erratic. Great averages on punts but big returns or poor ball placement have been issues in three games. ick off returns are similar to punt returns–among the very worst in the country. Kick off coverage is poor. Even with BP as the special teams coach, ND stinks in this aspect of the game which is near a full third of the game.
      Thankfully BC is a very bad team so these issues did not cost us the game

    7. The running plays are very, very similar to Kelly calling the plays, the hesitation after the snap and pre handoff is long enough to take a short nap. Really, none of the plays generated confusion on the defense. Outstanding blocking and running meant we did not happen to need it but that won’t hold against better teams. Passing is scary bad. High and low misses, throwing away passes when every down counts, if you need further proof, check out the passing routes and the quarterbacks’ reads. With the exception of his footwork, it looks like Tommy Reese is in there and confused as ever. Until Winbush can make quick decisions and quick releases, it looks like a backfield moving underwater. Go Irish!

    8. If Wimbush has good hands, He will converted into a receiver. He has the size and speed to be a great t ceiver

    9. Terry McManus says:

      MSU next week – They’ll be ready and we better be to.

    10. I am happy with the win and cautiously optimistic for the future. Still, until we beat some of the big boys on our schedule, and not just the teams we are supposed to beat, it is hard to get too crazy about this team.

    11. 3 games in we have learned that Wimbush is a nice kid, who never quits or complains; a slightly slower version of Tony Rice with worse passing accuracy, but a more physical runner. He should be a running back, maybe third down back, especially if he can catch passes consistently. Better get Ian Book more reps, because he will likely be finishing the season once BW gets injured, given all the called QB runs and broken play carries he gets and hits he takes; and given the latter, it’s no surprise BW’s accuracy is so poor. BK is still BK. 8-4 ceiling; 5-7 floor. Sad, esp for so much talent……..

    12. Kevin Welsh says:

      Last year we heard on this board that one of the biggest reasons we were four and eight was because we couldn’t establish a running game, which I agree with since the best ND teams were running teams. Now the whining says we can’t win against because we cannot throw the ball, a day after a 29 point win and 500+ ground effort. This kid at QB will come along. Give him more than 12 quarters. I am also tremendously buoyed in confidence by the defense which has played three consecutive solid football games, which also doesn’t get much mention. Relax and enjoy the win. We’ll be fine against MSU and last 8 games.

      • John Vannie says:

        Until Notre Dame beats a ranked team, you are going to hear about its shortcomings. Remember that the Irish could not run against Georgia, who put a spy on Wimbush and dared him to throw it. Even with single coverage on the wide receivers, the passing game was abysmal. Yesterday was not any better, so we’ll see what improvements are made next time when they are truly tested.

    13. If as many of you have predicted, ND has another 8 and 4 season of underperforming, ND needs to consider someone like Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen. Originally from the northeast, Catholic high school grad, Urban Meyer protege, and at a program that has mediocre talent and manages to make, as they say, chicken salad out of you know what. Consistently beats teams in the SEC that on paper they should never beat. Initially a Kelly supporter, I am now convinced that with him the Irish will be an underperforming team for the talent they have. I hope I am wrong.

      • I like Dan Mullen but I would prefer Derek Mason. Notre Dame will never be a team that can ever rely on speed on both sides of the ball. For this team to dominate it has to be built on physicality. Mason built Stanford’s defense into a top 10 defense with all of the academic requirements they have.

    14. goirish1988 says:

      Lots of accurate comments above. I will add these:
      1) Brian Kelly won the coin toss and deferred until the second half. Wake up the kids and call the neighbors!
      2) I do not enjoy watching our hurry-up offense often go three plays and out.
      3) I do not enjoy watching Wimbush throw 25-yard high-risk passes sideways for two-yard gains.

    15. I am an old and experienced alum. I have watched virtually every game since 69. So when a kid breaks the school rushing record for qbs, this is no small thing. And every year we play a couple of weaker teams, so every qb has had the same opportunity.
      Wimbush isn’t quite Tony Rice, but Rice had one of our best group of players around him ever.

      So don’t pick holes in him yet. Of course he’s not passing well yet ( and I am worried that he won’t too) But he can improve . And the receivers can make the odd play for him

      But he will rush for 100 yds more weeks than not. And Adams is every bit as good as Bettis and Brooks, so the run game is very good right now.
      I am sorry for you guys who cannot enjoy the game, and a good win. There is not much more that can be said about such negativity.

      • irishhawk50 says:

        Negativity? It seems most comments on Wimbush have been spot on not only from us bloggers but also from the “big league” press. This kid is in his third year of college ball and played throughout high school and, most likely, before that. His passing game has been truly poor and that is an objective observation. No one doubts he can run against lesser teams but we saw Georgia stop him cold and other top tier teams will also be capable of stuffing the run so unless a QB can come up with a decent passing game ND will continue to struggle against top tier teams. Just the facts.

    16. I am torn by the performance. Of course running like that is great to see but even wth all the success you would think eventually receivers would be running wide open and that never happened. Georgia begged him to throw and he couldn’t but after this performance I’m more inclined to blame WRs. They can’t separate and when they have opportunities they drop them. Mich St will probably scheme like Georgia and they have enough talent to contain our ground game. We will have to convert some big passing plays to win. Overall nice win and nice to see some consistency on defense!

    17. My prediction: Brian Kelly ends up at Boston College. Back home. Just a matter of when.

    18. ND should beat BC 49-20 given the huge talent disparity between the teams. People are crowing about the 515 yds rushing but let’s not forget that Georgia held us to 55. Wimbush appears to have trouble with reads and doesn’t look comfortable in the pocket. He better grow up fast because the schedule gets tougher after Bowling Green and if there’s no improvement in the passing game then teams with better athletes and depth will just duplicate Georgia’s defensive game plan. And then Kelly will go from a calm and serene yoga man back to the purple faced sideline maniac.

      Then the super fans will be saying “But wait until 2018 when Wimbush has a year under his belt”. We’re always a year away under Kelly.

    19. 2 suggestions for Kelly/Long – get some video of Tommie Frazier/Nebraska – we have the players to match that,.
      Dean Smith’s idea – 5 minutes of hell – give #2 offence 1-2 sets, a few basic plays out of it – Simple student body right/left – fresh legs, OLine needs quick hits mainly – playing against #1 D getting tired – catch em offf guard, make em run more – than #1 comes back in.

      • Atlantadomer says:

        I told one of my buddies (fellow alum), “this is Tommy Frazier stuff right here”. It’s tempting isn’t it?

    20. Getting to know the QB’s passing accuracy was a coaching function of the pre-season!

      And getting to know the position for the Receivers was a coaching function of the pre-season.

      What were the coaches doing during the pre-season? Listening to Coach Kelly reveal his plans for the season?

      • Kelly must be all over the place and too ADHD to focus enough and make sure his young men perfect certain details in their preparation. He probably drives people nuts to where they can’t get pumped enough to put their heart in the game. Holtz got to his players, as you could tell from the Catholics vs Convicts 30 for 30, but in a way that made them better, not nuts. I do think the end of Holtz’s career was a bit like the current team considering Powlus and the lack of big wins.

    21. I guess everybody saw the same thing, have to be able to get well above 50% completion rate to beat the big boys, or, get a more diverse running attack with a FB and two TEs at times, and if the completion percentage is so low, you have to have longer yardage completions, Winbush averaged below 10 yards on completions, not attempts! Move the pocket around, get him run/pass options, it’s hard to believe that the offense has been so complicated and ineffective over the years, especially with the weapons they have now, and you know Kizer wanted to escape Kelly because he drives QBs more and more crazy the longer he has them.

    22. I don’t want to be cruel but Brian Kelly is a very poor speaker. Just listened to the press conference.