Irish Avalanche Buries BC

Fans wondered which version of the 2022 Fighting Irish would show up on Saturday but they didn’t have to wait long for an answer. Notre Dame overwhelmed Boston College and stormed to a 37-0 halftime lead before coasting to a 44-0 victory over the hapless Eagles. The cold and wintry weather did not bother the hosts as they dominated in all phases of the game on Senior Day. The Irish move to 8-3 on the season and will finish the regular season next week against archrival USC.

Logan Diggs sent a message to BC on the first play of the game with a 51-yard romp. All three running backs scored for Notre Dame – Diggs, Audric Estime and Chris Tyree. Kicker Blake Grupe broke free of his recent slump by hitting three field goals despite a swirling wind. Former walk-on Matt Salerno caught his first career touchdown pass. Freshman Ben Morrison had two of his three interceptions and linebacker Marist Liufau had a fumble recovery. Isaiah Foskey had a sack to break Justin Tuck’s all time record at Notre Dame. Amazingly, all of this occurred in the first half.

Notre Dame’s defense did not allow BC’s pass-oriented offense any breathing room. They pressured Morehead into rushed passes and sacks with very few successful plays. The Eagles managed only 173 total yards all day compared to 437 for the Irish. Notre Dame had 281 rushing yards on 38 carries to 56 yards on 36 attempts for BC.

The game turned into a wintry adventure in the second half

Heavy snow began to fall as the third quarter got underway. The effects were immediate and impacted both teams. Salerno muffed a BC punt near midfield to give the ball back to the Eagles. Two plays later, quarterback Emmett Morehead overthrew a screen pass and Morrison had his third interception of the day. Estime scored again moments later to stretch the advantage to 44-0 as snow covered the field and blinded the television cameras.

The final 20 minutes of the game were little more than a running game scrimmage in the snow. The Eagles gave up trying to pass and the Irish cleared the bench. It was certainly the most complete performance of the season for Notre Dame. The team has come a long way since September and one wonders what might have been had the Irish not fallen asleep against Marshall and Stanford. Even the gmae against Ohio State would be far more competitive today.

Let’s review the answers to our pregame questions.

  • Can the Irish defensive line dominate BC’s porous offensive front? It is difficult to know how much injuries and the flu impacted the Eagle offensive front but they were certainly awful today.
  • Will Pyne be able to read and execute passes that are designed to defeat blitzes? Pyne threw the ball poorly in those few instances where he was pressured in the pocket. He missed on screens and throws to the flat. Pyne did have a nice throw on the run to Deion Colzie for a 23-yard gain.
  • Can Notre Dame run the ball on the smaller Eagle defense? The ground game was superb. Diggs led the way with 122 yards and carried Eagle defenders with him on many of his 15 rushes.
  • Which team will win the turnover battle? Notre Dame’s defense finished with five turnovers. The punt muff by Salerno when the snow was coming down sideways was the only blemish on the day.
  • Can Notre Dame’s special teams provide another highlight reel play? Salerno had a nice 28-yard punt return in the first half. The Irish did not block a punt but BC’s Danny Longman was in such a rush to unload the ball that he averaged only 34 yards. The real special teams hero was Grupe, who hit all three of his field goal attempts including a 46-yarder into a tricky crosswind.
  • Will the Irish secondary hold Flowers in check? Flowers had just three receptions. Only one was noteworthy because it gave the Eagles a rare visit across midfield. Morrison intercepted Morehead on the next play and held Flowers in check for most of the day.
  • Can either kicker break out of his slump by making a clutch field goal? Grupe’s Groupies can relax now and bask in the glow of redemption.
  • Will Jurkovec or Takacs have success against their old teammates? Jurkovec was unable to play, which was probably best considering the beating the Irish laid on Morehead. Takacs caught two passes for eight yards and still looked to be a bit gimpy on his injured ankle.

Cornerback Cam Hart suffered the only apparent injury for Notre Dame. He hurt his leg on one play and came back only to limp off again. Jayson Ademilola, Tobias Merriweather and Brandon Joseph were held out of the game. Hopefully all of these players will be available next week.

The Irish offense has improved significantly over the course of the season but the passing component remains limited by Pyne’s physical capabilities. Tom Rees persists in asking Pyne to throw it in the red zone but those plays fail more than they succeed. It’s understandable that Rees is trying to bolster his offensive firepower in anticipation of a high scoring affair in Los Angeles. If Notre Dame is going to win that encounter, however, its ground game is going to have to pave the way.

29 thoughts on “Irish Avalanche Buries BC

  1. What a great way to send the seniors out on a dominated win over BC!!! Like you said John, all 3 phases of the game from ND were excellent!! I feel really confident going into the game versus USC!! John, are both of the twin brothers graduating this year? Go Irish beat Trojans!!! Also, enjoy your Thanksgivings John!!

    • Joe,

      Jayson and Justin Ademilola have their ND degrees. Jayson (#57) has no more eligibility remaining but Justin (#9) can return again next year if he chooses to do so. The coaching staff has made it clear they would welcome him back. We’ll see what he decides.

  2. Okay great performance, and with the crazy weather, a fun game to watch. But, please someone answer me this question:: Why did Pyne play the entire game? Wasn;t this a good time late in the game to take a look at the backup QB? I’m not knocking Freeman or the coaching staff, I feel they are doing a fine job, but maybe I’m missing something here????

      • Maybe not horrible, but neither are any more than back ups, Buchner is not the guy either. Need to score a portal QB for 2023 and can Carr really come in 2024 and play immediately?

    • Even if they did put in Steve Angeli, he would just be handing the ball off to the RB’s. So what’s the point of just putting him in the game for that purpose?

      • Freeman explained: Angeli has played in 2 already. If he played today, and if Pyne were to be injured next week, then Pyne would end up with 5 games(BC, USC, bowl game plus the 2 earlier games) played, thereby losing his redshirt (playing in 4 max is allowed while maintaining the redshirt). Plus there was nothing to learn just handing off in a snowstorm.

        • Thanks for the explanation, which answers my questions about Angeli not getting in the game. Not to sound argumentative, but wouldn’t the smart play have been to put in Powlus in to hand the ball off and avoid any possibility of injury to Pyne?

  3. Huge miscalculation on my part, for which I paid dearly in Vegas today. Hats off to Coach Freeman, but his final exam is coming up in L.A. I’m limping home from the winnings I got betting on Navy.

  4. Thanks for another season of hard work and great analysis, John. I didn’t enjoy every moment of Coach Freeman’s first campaign, but I sure relied on your insights to remain sober for much of each week. Should we feel happy that Stanford will watch bowl games from home again this year? Or that Marshall’s desultory schedule and the Irish confusion will carry the Herd to an early December bowl? Or should we focus on ND’s recruiting binge and the NFL draft? Thanks to Mayer for shining and to our defensive line for waking up the echoes. And Patterson gave up ZERO sacks this season, according to NBC. But how can Lugg still have false starts?! Go Irish! Beat Trojans!

  5. Good ND and Bad ND. Good ND showed up today. I expect another great performance next week @ USC.
    prediction: Irish 45 USC 42

    QB play needs to improve dramatically next year, whoever is under center.

  6. This game’s result is no surprise to me. I expected this! Next week is a different affair! Better be ready for battle in LA! Riley will have the Trojans ready! Will the IRISH be ready?

  7. I was concerned ND would play way down to the competition but alas it did not happen and in fact they dominated from start to finish. Pyne is the limiting factor in the offense becoming great. I hope his flaws don’t become too apparent next week at SC. The offense just needs a dynamic playmaker at QB to get to the next level.

    Great win and good send off for the seniors. It’s been a bumpy ride this year but the seniors have a lot to be proud of. I’ll miss Jarrett Patterson and some of the other familiar names and faces we’ve all become accustomed to over the last several years. I wish them all the best.

    Glad SC won last night. This way if ND upsets them next week the pollsters can’t claim it’s not a quality win or that SC isn’t that good.

  8. I haven’t understood why Rees continues to throw the ball in the red zone. They are wasted plays, Pyne never hits his target and we end up 3rd and long where they know we’re going to pass and the whole problem goes full circle. Running North and South is the only way we score touchdowns from the Red Zone. Please Tommy get that through your head and safe us the pain of watching us play within the 20 yard lines!

  9. John,
    Would you happen to know which players that have the option to come back because of the COVID situation? If so, who do you feel will definitely come back for next year? Thanks!

    • Joe,

      There are a few current fifth year guys that have another (6th) year of eligibility due to COVID. Here are all the players and the number of years of eligibility remaining. The guys who have zero years remaining obviously cannot return. Note that a player who has graduated cannot just decide to return unless the coaches and the school approve it.

      Ademilola, Jay. (0)
      Ademilola, Jus. (1)
      Bauer (0)
      Bracy (0)
      Brown (1)
      Griffith (0)
      Joseph (1)
      Lenzy (1)
      Patterson (0)
      Smith, C. (0)
      Sot (0)

      The coaches definitely want Justin Ademilola to return but I’m not sure about DJ Brown, Lenzy and Joseph. I would take Joseph but not the others.

      There are seniors who did not play more than four games as freshmen in 2019 and still have two years remaining due to the COVID season in 2020:

      Bertrand (2)
      Correll (2)
      Cross (2)
      Ekwonu (2)
      Foskey (2)
      Hart (2)
      Kiser (2)
      Kristofec (2)
      Liufau (2)
      Osafo-Mensah (2)
      Salerno (2)

      Foskey won’t be back but any of the others might want to return. The most likely to ask and be approved are Bertrand, Cross, Osafo-Mensah, Liufau, and Kristofec. I’m not sure if Hart, Kiser or Salerno would want to return. I doubt Ekwonu would be invited back since the staff has recruited over him.

      The sixth year guys (Josh Lugg and Avery Davis) won’t be back. Lugg has no more eligibilty and Davis (medical) decided not apply for an extra year.

      • Thanks John for the information. I really appreciate it! Hope it was not too much of a burden for you to look all of this up. Go Irish BEAT Trojans!!!!!

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