Boston College takes big step back in brutal loss to Notre Dame

A week after stunned then-No. 17 North Carolina State in the dying seconds, Boston College returned to old ways and had its worst half of the season in an eventual 44-0 road loss to No. 18 Notre Dame on Saturday in South Bend, Ind. .

The Eagles (3-8, 2-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) trailed 17-0 in one quarter and 37-0 at halftime. The Irish (8-3) had 336 total yards in the first half, compared to 81 for BC, and held a 214-1 advantage in rushing yards.

“We started the week feeling good,” BC receiver Zay Flowers said. “We had a plan and ran with the plan. We felt like it was a good plan. It just didn’t go the way we wanted today.

Blake Grupe scored a 26-yard field goal two minutes into the game, Logan Diggs scored from 1 yard and Drew Pyne hit Matt Salerno for a 1-yard strike late in the first quarter. Grupe added field goals from 41 and 46 yards to make it 23-0, then Audric Estimé delivered from 7 yards and Chris Tyree from 12 yards to extend the margin.

Eagles coach Jeff Hafley said the Irish had the biggest offensive line his team had seen all season, as well as some really big running backs, but he made it clear his defense had also missed out. tackles.

Freshman quarterback Emmett Morehead (9 for 22, 117 yards, 3 INTs), who showed plenty of promise in his first two starts, was instrumental in four first-half turnovers. He threw two costly interceptions, fumbled and threw a back pass to Flowers that resulted in another fumble.

Starter Phil Jurkovec sat out with a concussion, a broken rib and a sprained MCL. Hafley reiterated that Morehead has a bright future and will inevitably experience ups and downs early in his career.

The coach noted that the Eagles simply never found a rhythm and couldn’t recover. Hafley is well aware that five turnovers won’t be enough.

“You really don’t stand a chance against a good team,” he said. “You don’t stand a chance against anyone.”

Flowers became the Eagles’ all-time leader with 192 career receptions, rookie Alex Broome showed versatility and Vinny DePalma had a career-high 12 tackles. Beyond that, everything was Irish.

All of Boston College’s starting offensive linemen — left tackle Ozzy Trapilo, left guard Jackson Ness, center Drew Kendall, right guard Dwayne Allick (RG) and right tackle Jack Conley — battled illness and were restricted to training during the week, but all five played.

“I appreciate our guys,” Hafley said. “We had a group of guys who didn’t train all week and went out and gave it their all. It’s no excuse for why we didn’t win this football game, but I appreciate their efforts.”

These linemen have been outplayed individually and collectively as they’ve been out most of the season, leading the Irish to four sacks on the day.

After a light flurry in the first half, it started snowing considerably earlier in the third quarter and the pitch was finally blanketed in white. The Irish didn’t need another advantage, but they got one as their ability to run the ball and stop the run continued to pay off.

“In the second half, you really couldn’t do much throwing the ball,” Hafley said. “The snow covered the pitch quite quickly, it was very windy and we only had to give the ball to a bunch.”

Freshman Benjamin Morrison (three interceptions) knocked out Morehead again, then Estimé scored for the second time, this one from 6 yards out, to push the margin to 44-0 in three quarters.

Neither team scored in a dismal fourth quarter, and that was it.

The Eagles came in with momentum on their side after knocking out an Associated Press-rated opponent for the first time since 2014. They were looking to record back-to-back wins over ranked foes for the first time in club history. team and achieve their first victory. on the Irish since 2008. Instead, BC turned in a flat and uninspiring performance that mirrored the way it played against Virginia Tech, Florida State and UConn.

The sobering reality in Chestnut Hill is that epic wins are outliers and misses like Saturday’s game have become the norm. Opponents BC have a 332-190 advantage in points, a 1,851-670 cushion in net rushing yards and a 4,100-3,383 advantage in total yards.

The Eagles, who host Syracuse on Saturday to close out the season, have one more chance to build some much-needed momentum for next year.

“Go for it,” said DePalma, a graduate linebacker. “Whatever happened before that doesn’t really matter. I just gotta go, let it all hang out. The latest at Alumni [Stadium]. Come on, let it rip.

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