Down goes Clemson.
Notre Dame took advantage of Clemson being without their “golden arm” and topped then-#1 Clemson at home in double overtime. DJ Uiagalelei did everything he could to power the Tigers to rally from a 23-13 halftime deficit but it just wasn’t enough in the end.
Now we have the Irish facing off against Boston College this weekend. And all I can do is remember back to the 1993 season when the Irish knocked off then-#1 Florida State 31-24 only to fall the following weekend to a Doug Flutie-led Boston College team.
Will the same thing happen this weekend? Highlight doubtful.
But I just find it ironic that the schedule lined itself up in such a manner that the Irish face the Eagles the weekend following a high-caliber win.
Sadly there are no Top Tier match-ups on the slate this weekend but let’s jump into the games that have caught our attention.
#2 Notre Dame (7-0) vs Boston College (5-3) Preview
This is really that good a Notre Dame team.
It might not be flashy, and it might not have a whole slew of recognizable names, but as it showed against Clemson, the lines are terrific, the passing game works, the running game has pop, and the team took shot after shot and came out with the win.
It starts with something simple – owning third downs.
The offense leads the ACC in third down conversions, the defense leads the ACC in third down stops, and the methodical production keeps on coming – the team leads the ACC in time of possession.
There aren’t a lot of penalties, turnovers aren’t a problem, and the run defense will hold BC to fewer than 75 yards. However the Boston College ground game is getting better, but that’s because it played Georgia Tech and Syracuse in the last three games. No, the offense doesn’t need to grind it out – and it won’t – but it’s going to start slinging and keep throwing.
Notre Dame transfer Phil Jurkovec has been terrific for the Eagles, hitting 200 yards or more in every game but the win over Georgia Tech, and that’s because the team ran the ball.
Clemson didn’t run a lick on the Irish – Travis Etienne and company were held to 34 net yards – and it came within a defensive stop of pulling off the win because Uiagalelei threw for 439 yards in his second start.
Jurkovec isn’t as talented as Uiagalelei, but he’s got the poise, the coaching, and the offense to keep on pushing the relatively untested Irish secondary.
And then there’s history. For people of certain ages if you go back to 2002, Notre Dame was 8-0 and coming off a huge road win at Florida State. The next week – Boston College 14, Notre Dame 7.
In 1993, Notre Dame was 10-0 and on the way to the national championship after stopping Florida State and Charlie Ward in a legendary game in South Bend. The next week – Boston College 41, Notre Dame 39.
This Boston College program has broken hearts before, and a whole lot of players on the 2020 Fighting Irish weren’t alive in 2002, and all of them were years away from being on this planet when Pete Mitchell caught a gajillion passes on the way to the upset in ’93.
This is a good enough Eagle team to keep it close and throw a scare into the Irish – who now have a College Football Playoff spot there for the taking if they can keep on winning – but Notre Dame’s lines will take over as the game goes on.
Notre Dame vs Boston College Broadcast
Date: Saturday, November 14
Game Time: 3:30 ET
Venue: Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, MA
Now we turn our attention to the Noles and their continued rollercoaster season. Can they learn from the rough loss to Pitt last week and steal a win away from NC State on Saturday?
Florida State (2-5) vs NC State (4-3) Preview
Jordan Travis is giving it a try.
The FSU quarterback might not be throwing it all over the yard, but he’s running well, and the ground attack overall hasn’t been bad. He’s averaging close to five yards per carry, and was rolling over the previous few weeks before stalling against the Pitt defensive front.
If Travis could get the O going, this would be the week against the horrible NC State pass defense that got ripped apart by Miami’s D’Eriq King last week and hasn’t done much of anything over the last month.
NC State has the ACC’s worst defense – allowing 472 yards per game – but Florida State doesn’t have the ability to take advantage of the easier D to go against.
The Noles don’t have any sort of a downfield passing game, they have the least efficient air attack in the ACC, and it’s all hamstrung by a team that’s getting destroyed by penalties in game after game, sinning an ACC-high 9.7 times per game.
Yes, the Wolfpack defense has been a disaster, but overall the team has been able to get by the okay-to-bad teams, and couldn’t beat Virginia Tech or North Carolina on the road or Miami last week at home.
Florida State is an okay-to-bad team. Even their signature win against North Carolina seems more like a fluke at this point.
So how’s FSU’s week going?
Florida State lost its star DT Marvin Wilson for the year, QB James Blackman is opting out, OT Devontay Love-Taylor is done for the season, and top WR Tamorrion Terry is no longer with the team.
So they are putting themselves behind the 8-ball before kickoff even happens.
NC State doesn’t do anything particularly well, but it’s finding ways to win games. The Wolfpack defense will keep Florida State in the game, but the offense will be just methodical enough to get through with the win on a good day through the air.
NC State will take advantage of its opportunities. FSU won’t. Look for the Wolfpack to pull away in the fourth quarter for the victory.
Florida State vs NC State Broadcast
Date: Saturday, November 14
Game Time: 7:30 ET
Venue: Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, NC
Network: ACC Network
Let’s take a moment to mourn our picks from last week.
Who saw Liberty topping the Hokies? That one definitely stung the most as we were going with our “fanboy” pick for FSU and then Notre Dame took advantage of Clemson being without their start QB.
Hopefully our picks are a bit more consistent for this week’s slate of games.
Saturday, November 14th
|Virginia Tech vs #9 Miami||MIA 31, VT 27|
|North Carolina vs Wake Forest||UNC 27, WF 14|
|Boston College vs #2 Notre Dame||ND 31, BC 21|
|Virginia vs Louisville||UVA 19, LOU 17|
|NC State vs Florida State||NCST 31, FSU 21|
|Georgia Tech vs Pittsburgh||Postponed|
Last Week’s Picks: 3-3
Year-to-Date Record: 42-18 (70.00%)
We’re keeping our fingers crossed for a great slate of games and we’ll check back in next week and hopefully not cringe at the results.
And if you missed it, check out our latest episode of the “Laces Out” series here.
If you’ve signed up for our weekly ESPN College Pick ‘Em challenge then don’t forget to get your picks locked in. Top entry at the end of the season will get a nominal cash prize!
Information for this post was obtained from College Football News.