Notre Dame 40 Boston College 7
The win over Boston College wasn’t pretty especially the first half. The Irish led 16-7 at halftime on the strength of three field goals and a touchdown. The inefficiency by the offense was across the board. Boston College flushed quarterback Ian Book out several times. Chase Claypool dropped a sure touchdown pass. Notre Dame was just a little off.
The second half was a different story. The Irish would score 17 points in the third quarter with a dominating stretch that went field goal, force turnover, touchdown, forced punt, touchdown. In a blink on an eye, an uninspiring 16-7 score turned into a 33-7 score to start the fourth quarter.
The win preserved a chance for Notre Dame to win 10 games for the third season in a row. That hasn’t been done since Lou Holtz led the Irish to three consecutive wins in 1991 (10-3), 1992 (10-1-1), and 1993 (11-1).
But what makes this time around is the seniors on this year’s team were freshmen during the 4-8 season. The year before the Irish had gone 10-3 but a Fiesta Bowl blowout loss to Ohio State had many wondering if the Irish could beat an elite program. Then 2016 happened. The wheels came off early. There was a 50-47 loss at Texas. After a win over Nevada there were two more losses. The Michigan State loss was somewhat acceptable but the home loss to Duke wasn’t. The Irish was sitting at 1-3. The losses would pile up including to Navy (neutral) and Virginia Tech at home. Notre Dame’s other three wins came against Syracuse, Miami (Fl), and Army. Head coach Brian Kelly was being criticized about everything from his record to his sideline demeanor.
But Kelly would pledge to change things about himself and his staff. Notre Dame would go 10-3, capping off the season with a Citrus Bowl win over LSU. The Irish kept rolling the next season going undefeated in the regular season. What made the season somewhat strange was the change at quarterback. Despite being a undefeated Kelly would switch from Brandon Wimbush to Ian book. The move proved to be the right one as the Irish would make the College Football Playoff where they would fall to Clemson.
Notre Dame is a Stanford win away from a 10-2 season. It might be the quietest double digit win season in Notre Dame history. There was the close loss at Georgia but it’s the trip to Michigan that colored the season. A blowout loss in Ann Arbor has unfairly impacted the way this team is being viewed. This senior class deserves better.
Stanford is having a down season but the trip is always a tough one. The Cardinal are always up for the game against the Irish. This class is one win a way from 33 wins (including a win in a bowl game) in a three year span. That hasn’t been done since the 88 (12 wins), 89 (12 wins), and 90 (9 wins) seasons.
With ten wins in the Irish’s reach, 4-8 seems a lifetime ago.