(An outsiders musings about goings on at Boston College, aka The Heights)
CHESTNUT HILL, MA.-For a half on Saturday there actually appeared to be a glint of hope for Boston College in its match up with Notre Dame at Alumni Stadium.
The Eagles only trailed the Irish, 14-10, had shown enough life to keep the announced sellout crowd of 44,500 interested enough to actually boo the Eagles when they ended the first half with a dive up the middle with seconds left from the Irish 44, rather than be more aggressive with a pass into field goal range.
There was one warning sign, however. In the first 30 minutes, the BC defense had been shredded for 271 rushing yards, including 167 yards by ND tailback Josh Adams.
It was more than a warning sign. It was an omen of the second half and perhaps for the rest of the season, which really gets tough next week when the Eagles travel to Clemson to meet the reigning national champions.
In a performance which almost defies description, the Irish rolled out of their locker room in the second half to post a 49-20 victory, while piling up an astonishing 611 yards in total offense, including 515 rushing yards, which is one yard short of the school record of 516 the Eagles allowed in a 34-31 loss to Army.
It was the most rushing yards run up by the Irish in 48 years. Wimbush and Adams are the first ND rushers to each break the 200-yard mark in modern Irish history.
How bad was it?[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership } Both Adams and Notre Dame QB Brandon Wimbush each rushed for more than 200 yards. Wimbush shredded the BC defense for four TDs and his 65 yard scoring scamper early in the fourth quarter gave the Irish a 35-13 lead which was too much to overcome, despite the efforts of QB Anthony Brown (24-40 215 yards and 2 Tds) and running back Jon Hillman (22-carries 124 yards). The Eagles demolition was gradual and steady. A ND turnover allowed BC's Colton Lichtenberg (a high point of the Eagles' season thus far) to boot a 41 yard field goal which cut Notre Dame's margin to 14-13. But that was as good as it got for BC, which dropped to 1-2 for the season, although Addazio, looking at the game through Eagle' covered glasses tried to spin this as a game filled with lots of positives. "I was enjoying the game,'' said Addazio. ""I was aggravated the last 7 minutes of the third quarter and the first five minutes of the fourth.'' That analysis was like someone saying he was enjoying a day at the beach until a hurricane created a tsunami which swept him 20 miles inland. Even Addazio acknowledged the flaws in the Eagles' effort. ""We didn't stop the run,'' he said. "That was a huge deal There were too many big runs. Our bell cow is our defense.' That didn't happen time after time, on key play after key play. ""We didn't tackle well,''said Addazio, again taking a sip from a reality cup. The other reality check for BC is that it will not get any easier and the Eagles are playing without two of their best players, center John Baker, who is out for the season with a knee injury, and linebacker Connor Strachan, who missed Saturday's game with a knee injury which will keep him sidelined indefinitely. "I"m not a smiley face sticker guy,'' said Addazio. "But a lot of good stuff went down in the game.'' Mostly it was the Eagles' defense, which has now been outscored by Wake Forest and Notre Dame by a combined score of 83-20, which was a chilling reminder of the tale of the 2016 Eagles who lost their biggest games by bigger scores. Waiting for BC in the next month are games against Clemson, Virginia Tech and Louisville, all who are capable of putting 50 points on any defense which has the breakdowns in coverage and tackling the Eagles had on Saturday. Addazio can chatter all day and all night about the positives the Eagles' posted yesterday in what was a 29 point loss to a Notre Dame team that has yet to prove that it is all that much better than last year's team which finished with a 4-8 record. Addazio can talk all he wants about the quality of the Eagles' schedule--a road win against a Northern Illinois team that beat Nebraska in Lincoln on Saturday, a Wake Forest team that cruised to another easy win Saturday and is now 3-0 and the Irish. But Notre Dame does not have the speed nor the talent BC must still face in Clemson, Virginia Tech, Louisville and Florida State. And Addazio can spout about the positive attitude he feels from his team. ""The morale is not down in the locker room'' he said. ""They're mad.. It was a close game,....'' Yes, it was--for a little more than a half. Addazio says the Eagles must readjust to the lineup he will be able to put in the game against Clemson and for the remainder of the season. But here's what seems to be the harshest reality of the afternoon. Broken down to its most basic elements, football is a game of simply, running the ball, throwing the ball, kicking the ball and tackling. "The tale of the game was the ability to stop big runs,'' repeated Addazio. The Eagles didnt do that and a lot more--or less.[/membership]