Notre Dame Football: Chase Rettig

What to watch: Notre Dame at BC

November, 8, 2012
11/08/12
10:15
AM ET
Here's what to keep an eye on Saturday night.

1. Quick, clean start. Notre Dame is playing on the road, and it's coming off a six-point showing through three quarters at Pitt. BC isn't Pitt, and I expect the Irish to strike early and often while avoiding gaffes like the five first-quarter penalties they had last weekend.

2. Chase Rettig on the ground often. BC surrenders nearly two-and-a-half sacks per game. Notre Dame is coming off a five-sack performance against Pitt's Tino Sunseri in a game that was, by its defense's standards, subpar. That won't be the case two weeks in a row.

3. Everett Golson pulled ... late. The redshirt freshman likely earned himself some leeway with last week's bounce-back performance and should have another strong game this weekend. So strong, in fact, that the game will be out of hand and he will earn himself an early rest while Tommy Rees or Andrew Hendrix come in late.

Notre Dame prediction: Week 11 at BC

November, 8, 2012
11/08/12
9:00
AM ET
Upset special? Not a chance.

When Notre Dame has the ball: Boston College ranks 116th nationally against the run. Who have the Irish faced that is worse? Miami (119th). How did that work out? Notre Dame rushed for 376 yards, including 197 in the third quarter, when the Irish ran the ball on 19 of 21 plays. The Irish have rushed for more than 200 yards in each of their past three games and should have a field day pounding it against the Eagles defense.

When Boston College has the ball: Quarterback Chase Rettig is coming off a three-turnover performance in a loss to Wake Forest, but the Eagles average better than 289 passing yards per game. They will try to take advantage of Alex Amidon, who has six 100-yard receiving games this season, including the past three weeks. Their ground game ranks 118th nationally and has virtually no shot of making anything happen against the Irish's stout run defense.

Intangible: Boston College is actually first in something -- punt returns, averaging 25 yards per return. The Irish's special-teams woes have been pretty well documented. BC also has the history on its side, ruining perfect Notre Dame seasons in 2002 and 1993, games current Notre Dame players have said are not on their minds. (Who can blame them?) Coach Brian Kelly, who has said that history will play no role with this year's team, will also be experiencing a homecoming of sorts in the Boston area.

Prediction: Notre Dame 38, Boston College 6. This will be the Navy and Miami games all over again.

ND's 2012 opponents, Week 10: BC

July, 27, 2012
7/27/12
10:30
AM ET
Week 10: Nov. 10 at Boston College (at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Mass.)

Time/TV: TBA

Series: Notre Dame leads all-time, 12-9

2011 record: 4-8 (3-5 ACC; fifth place, Atlantic Division)

Head coach: Frank Spaziani (20-19, three years)

Returning starters: Offense: 9; defense: 7; kicker/punter: 1

Top returners

QB Chase Rettig, RB Rolandan Finch, RB Tahj Kimble, RB Andre Williams, WR Colin Larmond, WR Bobby Swigert, TE Chris Pantale, LT John Wetzel, LG Bobby Vardaro, RG Ian White, RT Emmett Cleary, DE Kasim Edebali, DT Kaleb Ramsey, DT Dominic Appiah, DT Dillon Quinn, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, LB Steele Divitto, LB Sean Duggan, CB Jim Noel, SS Spenser Rositano

Key losses

RB Montel Harris, TE Lars Anderson, C Mark Spinney, DE Max Holloway, LB Luke Kuechly, CB Donnie Fletcher, FS Hampton Hughes, P Ryan Quigley

2011 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: Rolandan Finch* (705 yards)

Passing: Chase Rettig* (1,960 yards)

Receiving: Colin Larmond* (528 yards)

Tackles: Luke Kuechly (191)

Sacks: Max Holloway (2.5)

Interceptions: Luke Kuechly (3)

Three questions for ... ACC blogger Heather Dinich:

Coach Frank Spaziani and players talked a lot this spring about how the worst thing to happen in the 2011 season was the campaign ending, as BC made strides late. Is it possible to build off that momentum in 2012?



Heather Dinich: BC doesn’t have much choice but to answer that with an emphatic ‘yes’ because the Eagles open the season against Miami. That game will set the tone for both programs, and we’ll learn a lot about both of them in Week 1. Voting members of the media picked BC to finish fifth in the Atlantic Division this fall, ahead of only Maryland. The key to whether or not they surpass that is how quickly the offense executes the playbook of yet another offensive coordinator. Offensive lineman Emmett Cleary told me at media days that too much has been made of the turnover at the coordinator position -- that it’s just football and they can learn it. That’s coming from a BC offensive lineman, though -- they’re smart guys. The lack of continuity there will be a factor for some players.



All-everything players Montel Harris and Luke Kuechly are gone, but there is plenty of depth both in the backfield and at linebacker. Can those units maintain production this season?



HD: There’s talent and depth at both positions. Of course, BC would like to have the ACC’s record-setting running back on its roster, but the Eagles will survive without him, especially since the offensive line should be one of the more improved units on the roster. Rolandan Finch and Andre Williams combined to rush for 1,222 yards and seven touchdowns last year. Tahj Kimble had 43 carries and eight catches. At linebacker, nobody can replace Kuechly, but Steele Divitto is sure gonna try. Kevin Pierre-Louis could also be one of the more talented linebackers in the ACC.



Given recent seasons, staff turnover and the mysterious dismissing of Harris, it would appear -- at least on the surface -- to be a do or die year for Spaziani. How does BC respond this year?

HD: Yes, I think his job is on the line. The Eagles, at the very least, must go bowling for Spaz to keep his seat cool. At least that’s my guess. I have little doubt that BC responds like it always does -- with a chip on its shoulder. Spaziani told me at ACC media days that he has a chip on HIS shoulder, and those are the types of players BC recruits, too -- solid, hard-working, blue-collar guys who simply love the game. They’ll play for anybody. BC might not be the best team in the ACC, but you can always expect the Eagles’ best effort.

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