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Notre Dame continues to be a factor in the College Football Playoff Rankings, and that continued this week with a No. 18 ranking after improving to 7-3 with a victory vs. Navy. Now aiming to keep that momentum rolling, the Fighting Irish host Boston College in South Bend on Saturday afternoon. This will be the final home game for Notre Dame, and it comes not against a traditional rival but certainly a familiar one. These two teams have played 26 times since 1975 and played every year from 1992-2004, with Notre Dame holding a 17-9 edge in the series that includes eight straight wins.
The Fighting Irish have won seven of eight since starting 0-2, with two wins against teams currently in the top 15 of the CFP Rankings (Clemson, North Carolina) and two wins against teams that were ranked in the AP poll at the time (Syracuse, BYU). First-year coach Marcus Freeman has guided this team through injury issues and disappointing losses to now have a chance to finish the season in a premier bowl game with a couple more wins.
Boston College, on the other hand, is not tracking towards a bowl game having already lost seven games this season, but this Eagles team is still battling as evident by a second-half comeback win at NC State just last week. Jeff Hafley’s group has dealt with tons of injury issues as well, but if last week is any indication, the Eagles can still be a dangerous team against ranked opponents.
Date: Saturday, Nov. 19 | Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
Location: Notre Dame Stadium — South Bend, Indiana
TV: NBC | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Notre Dame has thrived against the ACC: When the ACC announced that Notre Dame was joining the conference as a full member in all sports but football, the two conference also announced the creation of a scheduling agreement with the Fighting Irish that would feature a handful of games against ACC opponents. While the agreement has provided some memorable on-campus showdowns for several ACC programs, the results have been decidedly tilted in Notre Dame’s favor, Since entering the scheduling agreement in 2014, Notre Dame is 39-7 against the ACC teams, and the Fighting Irish are currently riding a 27-game regular-season winning streak against ACC opponents.
Boston College QB Phil Jurkovec injured heading into battle vs. former team: Jurkovec transferred to Boston College from Notre Dame after his sophomore season in 2019 and told The Boston Globe back in August that he was “disappointed by some stuff” from his time with the program. Any issues that Jurkovec and his family might have with Brian Kelly don’t resonate as much now that the former Notre Dame head coach is now at LSU, but it’s still the program he joined right out of high school that left him feeling disappointed, prompting a career-altering transfer to Boston College. If Jurkovec were 100 percent healthy, there would likely be more hype heading into this potential “revenge game” spot. However, Jurkovec has not played since being knocked out of a loss to UConn on Oct. 29. Freshman Emmett Morehead has gone 1-1 as a starter in place of Jurkovec, losing by seven points to Duke at home, then leading a two-touchdown comeback at NC State on the road last week.
Officially, Jurkovec is listed as the starting quarterback on the Boston College depth chart for this week. However, Hafley also said he’s in concussion protocol and “fighting to come back” from “a bunch of other injuries.” So it may not be until game time when we know whether this showdown will have a revenge storyline at play.
Deep running back room helps power Notre Dame’s offense: Injuries at quarterback and wide receiver have prompted a return to the run game in 2022 for the Fighting Irish offense, and luckily this team has a deep running back room that was ready to step up to the challenge. Notre Dame is the only power conference team in the country with three running backs logging 85 or more carries this season, with Audric Estime (125), Logan Diggs (125) and Chris Tyree (87) leading a ground attack that has topped 200 rushing yards in a game five times this season.
Notre Dame had some flaws in its 35-32 win against Navy, but the Fighting Irish also had the upper hand for most of the afternoon. The way Navy shut down Notre Dame’s run game and continued to move the ball should be concerning, but the Fighting Irish also jumped out to a 14-0 advantage and never gave up the lead, providing answers every time Navy made a push. I think there was some extra preparation in store for this home stretch against Boston College and USC, and some of that preparation will pay off in a more well-rounded showing on Saturday. Prediction: Notre Dame -21
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