Notre Dame stays unbeaten, avoids BC's trap

Mike Shalin, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

BOSTON -- Not this time.
Twice in the last 20 years, Boston College ended the national-title hopes of rival Notre Dame. But Saturday night, the No. 4 Fighting Irish did what they had to do, dismantling BC for a 21-6 victory that lifted Notre Dame to 10-0 for the first time since 1993.
That was the first year the Eagles spoiled things for the Irish. It happened again in 2002. But those BC teams were both bowl-bound. The Eagles are 2-8 this year, putting coach Frank Spaziani's job in jeopardy.
The Irish are going to need help to get to the BCS title game, and they got some Saturday when No. 1 Alabama lost. Notre, which hosts Wake Forest and visits USC, needs more assistance.
As it is, all Notre Dame can do is go out and win, regardless of how. The Irish have five victories by seven points or fewer, and they have gone into overtime twice. They were bumped from No. 3 to 4 in the most-recent BCS standings after a triple-overtime win over Pittsburgh last week.
"We're going to work on winning against Wake Forest and take care of what we can take care of, and then when it's all said and done, we'll see where we are," coach Brian Kelly said. "We really can't waste any of our energy. You see how hard it is to win in college football. We can't worry about those things. We have to focus on what we can do, and that is win it on the field.
"If people don't like us winning, I don't know what else to tell you."
As far as the chase for the title game being a bit more real after Alabama lost, star linebacker Manti Te'o said, "It's only as real as Wake Forest. We have to deal with Wake Forest and play one game at a time. (Alabama losing) is proof it's college football. Any team can lose at any time, and we just don't want to be that team."
Everett Golson threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score in a superb performance that gave the Irish their fourth consecutive victory over BC in the rivalry between the Football Bowl Subdivision's only two Catholic schools.
"We were effective because our quarterback was effective tonight," Kelly said of Golson, who was 16-for-24 for 200 yards passing and also ran for 39 yards. Golson left for one play because his helmet came off, and Tommy Rees completed a 9-yard pass.
Theo Riddick ran for 104 yards and caught four passes for 56 yards, and tight end Tyler Eifert caught six passes for 67 yards. John Goodman and Troy Niklas caught the touchdown passes. Niklas grabbed the first of his college career. Goodman played because DaVaris Daniels went down with a shoulder injury.
Kelly was extremely pleased with the effort, finding fault only with a pair of fumbles, one by Riddick, the other by George Atkinson III.
BC, which came into the game tied for 118th in the country in third-down-conversion defense, yielded conversions on Notre Dame's first 10 tries before a third-quarter stop.
Eagles quarterback Chase Rettig was 27-for-43 for 247 yards and an interception. He also lost a fumble. He has six turnovers in the last two games, both losses.
"I think when you get a chance to play Notre Dame, regardless of anyone's opinion of Notre Dame, where they stand in the rankings, it's Notre Dame," said Rettig, who made his first college start against the Irish two years ago. "Everyone knows them when you're growing up. Everyone says play each game the same, but that doesn't stand true when you're playing Notre Dame."
Alex Amidon, Rettig's main receiver, caught six passes, breaking the program's single-season record for receiving yards in a season.
Nate Freese kicked field goals of 36 and 45 yards for the BC scoring.
NOTES: This is the eighth time in its history that Notre Dame has started 10-0. ... BC guard Ian White missed the game with an ankle injury, the first time this season the Eagles started anyone but the original five offensive linemen. On the other side of the ball, BC has had nine different players start games. ... BC lost linebacker Nick Clancy (upper body) and receiver Bobby Swigert (knee). ... Notre Dame came in ranked in the national top 20 in eight of the 20 defensive categories. ... BC hosts Virginia Tech next week. ... Rolandan "Deuce" Finch, who had been BC's No. 1 runner but had fumble-itis and had been benched since the third game, was back in action, running for 40 yards and catching five passes for 25. "I saw the Deuce that I like to see," Spaziani said. ... Temperature in the area fell from the mid-50s in the afternoon to 40 at gametime. ... BC's national-champion hockey team, which beat Notre Dame 3-1 Friday night, was on the sideline in the first quarter and was introduced during the game.

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