Many times in sports, it doesn’t matter if a given achievement comes against an inferior or weak opponent. What matters more is that an athlete or a group of players gains confidence. So what if they fattened up against a tomato can? They played well. They saw good things happen. They scored lots of touchdowns and shut down the opposing team’s offense. Doing good things and playing well can feed confidence regardless of how weak the opponent is.
That’s what Notre Dame did against Boston College. It’s also what happened for USC’s Korey Foreman against Colorado, which fed his confidence heading into the UCLA game and fueled him with the belief needed to make that huge play in the final two minutes against the Bruins.
With that in mind, let’s look at Notre Dame after the Irish’s blowout of Boston College. Fighting Irish Wire editor Nick Shepkowski provided analysis of the game, and you will want to follow Fighting Irish Wire throughout the next seven days.
NOTRE DAME SENIOR DAY
“If you were to script a perfect senior day for a team, not in national championship contention, it would go exactly as things went at Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday,” Shepkowski wrote.
THE OPPONENT IS SECONDARY
“Sure, Boston College isn’t really close to being the most-hated rival of the Fighting Irish, but they’re a pesky one that has caused quite a bit of heartbreak over the years,” Shepkowski noted.
NOTRE DAME STOPPED STRUGGLING
“Forget for a second who the opponent was. This is a Notre Dame team that lost at home to college football struggle buses Marshall and Stanford both this year. Slow starts didn’t help in either of those games and have been an issue all year.” — Shepkowski
FAST START VS BOSTON COLLEGE
“It was a fast start for the second week in a row, something that has been foreign for Notre Dame this season.” — Shepkowski
NOTRE DAME STAR CORNERBACK
“Brandon Morrison has been improving week by week and put any hope of a Clemson comeback on the shelf two weeks ago. All he did on Saturday was intercept three passes, two of which came in the first half.” — Shepkowski
RENEWED CONFIDENCE IN MARCUS FREEMAN
“After falling to Marshall and 0-3 as a head coach there was concern about what Notre Dame would ultimately become under Marcus Freeman. All the Irish have done since is go 8-1 (yeah the Stanford loss still stings) and look the part of a top 10 team nationally.” — Shepkowski
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR IS GETTING BETTER
“They almost certainly won’t get there because of their September but there is improvement all over the field for Notre Dame in 2022. The offensive line is a road-grading unit. The backfield is loaded. As much grief as Tommy Rees gets he has managed to make this offense work with a backup quarterback who clearly possesses a limited skillset.” — Shepkowski
“As part of Saturday’s nearly perfect script, Isaiah Foskey closed the first half in perfect fashion. His sack on the last play of the first half made him Notre Dame’s all-time career sacks leader, passing Justin Tuck’s previous mark.” — Shepkowski
NOTRE DAME'S BEST PASS CATCHER
“Michael Mayer played his final collegiate home game Saturday. He’s bound to be a first-round pick after a record-setting career at Notre Dame.
“Mayer didn’t find the end zone Saturday but did haul in five receptions for 64 yards and in doing so passed the 2,000 yard mark in career receiving yards. He’s just the 13th player in Notre Dame history to reach 2,000 yards.” — Shepkowski
SOME THOUGHTS FROM US
We’ll have more on the Irish as the week unfolds, but start with this point: Notre Dame has played Syracuse, Clemson, Navy, and Boston College, all teams with well-below-average passing games.
Now the Irish face Caleb Williams and USC. It will be quite an adjustment.
USC POINT OF CONCERN
The Notre Dame offensive line has gotten a lot better over the past several weeks. The Irish can mash the ball with the ground game and keep Caleb Williams off the field. It is probably Notre Dame’s most direct path to victory.
BIGGEST SOURCE OF CONCERN FOR USC
The Trojans don’t have a special teams coordinator.
Notre Dame special teams coordinator Brian Mason is arguably the best assistant coach in the United States this year, getting his group to block over half a dozen punts.
USC better not punt. If it does, it’s in trouble.
Saturday’s game in the Coliseum will be the first Notre Dame-USC game played in Los Angeles since 2018. The pandemic wiped out the 2020 game in L.A.
4:30 p.m. Pacific time this Saturday, Nov. 26
Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit have the call on ABC
FIGHTING IRISH WIRE LOOKS AHEAD TO USC
BECAUSE THERE IS NEVER A BAD TIME TO BRING IT UP