Boston Colleges: Notre Dame Fighting Irish

BC fails to cash in on chances

November, 11, 2012
NEWTON, Mass. -- The odds were always long.

The chance of Boston College actually reviving the ghosts of 1993 and 2002, years when it upset previously undefeated editions of Notre Dame and ruined any Irish title hopes, was slim. The Eagles came into the prime-time matchup 2-7 (1-5 ACC) in 2012.

Yet they had chances to put a serious scare into the heavily favored guests, once early and once late.

But as has been the case all season, the Eagles couldn't capitalize when it was all on the line and fell 21-6 to the fourth-ranked Irish.

[+] EnlargeTroy Niklas
Mark L. Baer/US PresswireNotre Dame never looked back after going up 14-3 on this Troy Niklas touchdown catch.
With Notre Dame driving, leading 7-3 in the second quarter, Steele Divitto forced and then recovered a fumble for BC. The play gave BC the ball at its own 26 and an opportunity to engage the capacity crowd and swing momentum in its favor.

But the Eagles' offense couldn't turn the possession into points, ultimately forced to punt after Chase Rettig's pass for Alex Amidon was broken up on third-and-10 from the Irish 40-yard line.

"We were in third-and-long a lot, which has kind of become something consistent in other games prior to today," Rettig said. "We've gotta be better on first down."

After the Eagles couldn't convert, Everett Golson and the Irish executed a methodical 16-play, 87-yard scoring drive. The possession ate up 8:30 and culminated in a 7-yard TD pass from Golson to Troy Niklas that put the visitors up 14-3.

The second chance came late.

With the Irish again driving after an Eagles field goal, leading 21-6, another BC linebacker separated the ball carrier from his cargo. Sean Duggan stripped Theo Riddick after an 8-yard gain, the ball ending up in the hands of Spenser Rositano.

The play gave BC the ball on the Notre Dame side of the field, at the 48. A touchdown now, and it would be a one-score game (assuming a two-point conversion, somewhere along the line).

But again, the Eagles' offense failed to convert the turnover into points. They got as far as the 37, then it all came tumbling down.

"We were moving it pretty well in the beginning and then I think just give a lot of credit to their defense," Amidon said. "They were just making plays and we weren't. That's what it came down to, we weren't making as many plays as they made."

After three plays produced an incompletion, a loss of three yards and a 5-yard gain over the middle, BC faced a fourth-and-8 from the 35. Rettig dropped back to pass and almost immediately was under heavy pressure. The QB went down, attempting to flip the ball forward as he fell and turning the ball over on downs.

(Read full post)

Instant Analysis: Notre Dame 21, BC 6

November, 10, 2012

NEWTON, Mass. -- Instant analysis from Boston College's 21-6 loss to No. 4 Notre Dame at a packed Alumni Stadium on Saturday night:

How it happened: Notre Dame scored first, taking the air out of the Eagles' upset hopes, and was never seriously threatened after a brief scare in the opening half.

With Notre Dame driving, up 7-3 in the second quarter, Steele Divitto forced and then recovered a fumble for BC. But the Eagles' offense couldn't turn the possession into points, forced to punt after Chase Rettig's pass for Alex Amidon was broken up on third-and-10 from the Irish 40-yard line.

Everett Golson and the Irish then executed a 16-play, 87-yard scoring drive of their own, culminating in a 7-yard TD pass from Golson to Troy Niklas that put the visitors up 14-3.

Notre Dame scored on the first possession of the third quarter, making it 21-3 and essentially ending any chance of drama.

What it means: BC falls to 2-8 (1-5 ACC), while No. 4 Notre Dame improves to 10-0. With No. 1 Alabama upset at home by No. 15 Texas A&M earlier Saturday, this game had major implications for the Irish.

There was no letdown, as the favorites were in control from start to finish.

What's next: The Eagles will host Virginia Tech on Saturday at Alumni Stadium, the last home game of the 2012 season.

It's been a rare down season for Frank Beamer & Co., who lost 28-22 to No. 10 Florida State on Thursday night in Blacksburg, Va. The Hokies are just 4-6 (2-4 ACC) in 2012.

Jack McCluskey is an editor for and a frequent contributor to Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.

Will 3rd time be charm for Rettig vs. Irish?

November, 8, 2012
Chase Rettig and Manti Te'oUS PresswireChase Rettig and BC's offense face a tough test against Manti Te'o and Notre Dame's defense.
NEWTON, Mass. -- Chase Rettig remembers it well.

He walked out of the tunnel at Alumni Stadium for the first start of his career. The lights were on. The stands were full. The fans were raucous.

Notre Dame was in town for a prime-time edition of the Holy War.

In a perfect world, Rettig not only wouldn't have started -- he wouldn't have even been on the depth chart.

The Eagles loved Rettig's potential, and they were hoping that sophomores Dave Shinskie and Mike Marscovetra could get them through the 2010 season at quarterback. That would allow them to redshirt the highly regarded Rettig, giving him a year to adjust to the college game before being thrust into the fray.

But this is not a perfect world. Far from it, in fact.

So during a lifting session on the Sunday after the third game of the season, head coach Frank Spaziani had a message for his true freshman signal-caller: "We're going to give you an opportunity."

That's how Rettig remembers it. It wasn't an anointing, an instant elevation from bench to starter. Rather, it was a suggestion that his time might be coming sooner than expected.

"I was just really excited," Rettig said. "It was all happening so fast."

Things did not go as he hoped in the beginning. His first four attempts were incomplete, and the fifth attempt was complete to Sterlin Phifer but resulted in a 1-yard loss.

"The first couple series everything was going so fast," Rettig said.

[+] EnlargeChase Rettig
AP Photo/Stephan SavoiaBC QB Chase Rettig's first career start came in 2010 against Notre Dame, but he exited with a sprained ankle.
"It was such a big stage to start a game on, a night game against Notre Dame," wideout Alex Amidon said. "So you kind of expect the start that he had. But then he started getting into a little rhythm."

Rettig hit his next throw, to Chris Pantale, then had his first big play, finding Bobby Swigert for a 58-yard touchdown.

"Once we scored it slowed down," Rettig said, "and then unfortunately I got hurt."

He sprained his ankle and had to come out of the game. Marscovetra came on in relief in the second quarter, handling the snaps in the rest of the eventual 31-13 loss.

But the day's message was clear: Rettig was the future, and his time had arrived.

When Rettig takes the field against No. 4 Notre Dame on Saturday night (8 ET, ABC), the Fighting Irish will be facing a mature passer who's finally producing as the Eagles always thought he could.

(Read full post)

Notre Dame represents BC's bowl game

November, 8, 2012
Kapron Lewis-Moore, Manti T'eoJonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesNo. 4 Notre Dame suppressed Pitt's upset bid last week. Can the Irish do it again at Boston College?
NEWTON, Mass. -- It's a one-game season.

After the Eagles lost to Georgia Tech three weeks ago, head coach Frank Spaziani told the team he had a five-point plan for the rest of the season. There were five games left, and the five-point plan was to win each game in a row and finish 6-6.

BC completed the first of those five points, beating Maryland to improve to 2-6, but couldn't complete the second, losing to Wake Forest and falling out of contention for a bowl at 2-7.

"It's a 12-game season, that's what you start out on and anything else is a bonus," Spaziani said. "You have to get your mind into it, drill it down and play one week at a time."

So now, linebacker Nick Clancy said, the players are treating things like they're playing a one-game season.

"We're trying not to focus on anything else, because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," he said.

The opportunity the fifth-year senior is referring to is knocking off undefeated, 9-0, No. 4-ranked Notre Dame this Saturday at Alumni Stadium (8 p.m. ET, ABC).

"It's a game that we all dream of playing in -- Saturday night, under the lights, on a big stage against our biggest rival -- one of our biggest rivals -- the Holy War, all that goes into it," true freshman running back David Dudeck said. "There's so much energy and emotion on campus this week. For me as a freshman, to be involved in it is a really cool experience.

"They're coming in undefeated and we have the chance to knock them off. That's huge."

Spaziani resisted the urge to say that playing spoiler is the motivation this week.

(Read full post)

Eagles eye Irish game as huge opportunity

November, 7, 2012

NEWTON, Mass. -- The Eagles won't play in a bowl game for the second straight season, a losing record clinched by last week's loss at Wake Forest. But they believe they have the next best thing coming this weekend.

A date with undefeated Notre Dame, which is ranked No. 4 and has BCS National Championship Game aspirations, under the lights in Alumni Stadium and beamed to living rooms across the country by ABC (8 p.m. ET).

"I think it's just an awesome opportunity," wideout Alex Amidon said before the team practiced in the snow Wednesday. "Playing a top-5 team in the country, undefeated, 9-0, especially Notre Dame, it's the big rivalry. We haven't had an opportunity to play a team like this this late in the season in a long time."

[+] EnlargeAlex Amidon
AP Photo/Chuck BurtonBC WR Alex Amidon has produced big numbers all year and says playing Notre Dame is "just an awesome opportunity."
The Eagles aren't thumping their chests, promising a Saturday victory on a Wednesday. But they are asking a question.

"The whole team is convinced we can do it," linebacker Nick Clancy said. "The question going around is 'Why not us?' If [the Eagles] can do it in 1993, why can't we do it in 2012? That's the attitude going around the locker room.

"This is a one-game season, is what we're looking at is. This is it, man. This is the last opportunity we're gonna have to play a big-time team on a national stage. So guys are really excited about it."

Notre Dame is 9-0, but it hasn't always looked like a world-beater. The Irish went to three overtimes against Pitt last week, and struggled to put away Purdue and BYU earlier in the season.

A win against the Irish seems unlikely, but the Eagles say that's the goal.

"Shock the world almost," strong safety Spenser Rositano said. "It's gonna be fun. We've always played them well and it's a good rivalry game so I'm excited to go out and see what we can do.

"Obviously our goal is to win out, but this is like the big one because they're nationally ranked and it's gonna be on national television, so it can show everyone around the nation that we're still Boston College and we can still compete with anyone we play."

Beating the Irish, ruining their perfect season and a shot at the national title -- just as the Eagles did in '93 -- would salvage something of this so-far disappointing season.

"If we can beat Notre Dame this weekend we can say we did something," Amidon said. "The way I look at it is we've got an opportunity to make something of this season right now. If we can get them, we can look back on the season and say 'We did that.'"

Reshuffling the depth chart at RB

After Andre Williams injured an abdominal muscle in the loss in Winston-Salem, N.C., true freshman David Dudeck was the only healthy running back remaining.

(Read full post)