- Matt Fortuna, ESPN Staff Writer
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Boston College awaits Notre Dame this Saturday, the third of three consecutive overmatched ACC opponents before the Irish close out their season next weekend at Stanford.
The Eagles have been hapless for much of the year, winning just three games and losing four by double-digits. The question, really, is which Notre Dame team will show up and, consequently, how long will this game be competitive?
Notre Dame played arguably its most complete game of the season last weekend against Maryland, which is easier said than done against an opponent that inspires little in the way of intimidation. A week earlier against a Wake Forest team that plays much better than it has any reason to, the Irish found themselves in a first-half slugfest before escaping in the third quarter.
Expect the emotions of Senior Day to lead to a slow start, as the longer-than-usual pregame ceremony and later-than-usual kickoff make for a different feeling once the players take the field. An early 17-0 lead is certainly another possibility, but I wouldn't expect it. The Eagles, after all, did put a scare into then-No. 12 Virginia Tech earlier this season, actually going into halftime with a 7-6 lead before falling, 30-14.
But make no mistake about it: it would be only a slow start, and nothing more. Boston College poses little to no offensive threat against the Irish defense, and the Eagles' defense is, at best, solid. Like Notre Dame's defense, though, it has had trouble forcing turnovers this season (both have 11).
Tommy Rees took another step in his development against Maryland, and the offense will look to establish a similar tempo this weekend. While Boston College's defense will be less forgiving of a few early errors, the Irish offense should have little trouble eventually settling into a rhythm and pace resembling last week's.
Prediction: Notre Dame 38, Boston College 16
4dDan Murphy and Austin Ward