Thursday, November 8, 2012

Notre Dame-Boston College Preview

Notre Dame QB's: Everett Golson is coming off a triple overtime win at home over Pittsburgh where he rallied the Irish down from a 20-6 deficit to force overtime before eventually scoring the game winning touchdown. Golson was effective on the ground and in the air during this rally to win against Pittsburgh. On the season he has completed 56.9 percent of his passes for 1,372 yards, 6 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions. He also has ran for 219 yards and 4 touchdowns on the ground, which is 4th best on the team in the rushing department. Tommy Rees has seen playing time in every game this season except the first game, he has completed 58.5 percent of his passes for 410 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. Third-string quarterback Andrew Hendrix has seen playing time in the games against Navy and BYU this season and has completed 5 of 6 passes for 55 yards. Hendrix also has 34 rushing yards on 7 carries as well this season.

Notre Dame QB's vs. Boston College Pass Defense: The Eagles have the 73rd ranked pass defense in college football and have allowed 245.2 passing yards a game and are allowing opponents to complete 63 percent of their passes this season and have allowed 14 passing touchdowns while also intercepting 10 passes this season. Despite being temporarily pulled midway through the game against Pittsburgh, Golson has done very well in the last 2 games and should have a more opened up offense and have a strong game in the air for the Irish and could put up career highs in passing yards and touchdowns even. Should another quarterback have to come in, be it for relief or to close out a game that is well in hand, it would be wise for Andrew Hendrix to come in over Tommy Rees. This is mainly due to the running ability of Hendrix that matches up well against a Boston College run defense that is ranked near the bottom and among the worst in the nation. Overall, Golson should have no issue building upon the comeback win over Pittsburgh.

Edge: Notre Dame

Boston College QB's: Chase Rettig is in his third year in a row as starting quarterback for Boston College, he has completed 56.4 percent of his passes for 2,561 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions this season. Backup Josh Bordner has appeared in 2 games this season and has completed 1 of 2 passes for 7 yards on the season. Rettig is having his best season statistically and this is despite him having 4 different offensive coordinators in the last year or so.

Boston College QB's vs. Notre Dame Pass Defense: The Irish have the 21st ranked pass defense and have allowed only 2 opponents this season to pass for more than 200 yards this season. Notre Dame is allowing 194 passing yards a game and opponents are completing 58.2 percent of their passes and Notre Dame has allowed 6 touchdown passes and have intercepted 13 passes as well. Rettig and the Eagles come in with the 27th ranked passing offense and what the Irish need to do is shut him down in the air. Considering that the secondary had some issues at time against Pittsburgh, they ought to be able to improve on tackling and make Boston College the 8th opponent Notre Dame that holds below 200 passing yards as well.

Edge: Even

Notre Dame RB's: Theo Riddick is the leading rusher for the Irish this season, he has been a very important player in the running game and receiving game for Notre Dame. He has rushed for 610 rushing yards on 136 carries with a 4.5 yard average with 4 touchdowns. In the receiving game he has 25 catches for 217 yards and 1 touchdown that helped lead to the tie that forced overtime against Pittsburgh. Cierre Wood has ran for 537 yards on 85 carries for a 6.3 yard average and 3 touchdowns. George Atkinson III has 38 carries for 303 yards and 4 touchdowns. All three of them have a long run of 55+ yards with George Atkinson III having 2 of them go for touchdowns. Cam McDaniel has ran for 114 yards and 1 touchdown, but his rushing yards have come only in blowout wins this season.

Notre Dame RB's vs. Boston College Run Defense: Boston College has been one of the worst teams against the run this season, they are 119th overall and are allowing 235 rushing yards a game and 18 rushing touchdowns. Opponents are also getting a 5.0 yard average per carry as well and their defense had allowed 516 rushing yards to Army earlier this season most notably. Considering Notre Dame's depth and success at running the ball this season, this matchup clearly favors the Irish who could potentially have a season high in rushing yards against Boston College and should be able to rotate between Theo Riddick, Cierre Wood, George Atkinson III, and Cam McDaniel frequently while also using Everett Golson's running ability. Notre Dame should easily have at least 2 players exceed the 100 yard rush mark against Boston College as well.

Edge: Notre Dame

Boston College RB's: Andre Williams is the leading rusher and has nearly all of the rushing yards, carries and touchdowns. He has ran for 599 of the teams 697 yards (86 percent), has 130 of the teams 248 carries (52 percent), 4 of the teams 5 rushing touchdowns (80 percent). However, he is out this week with an injury. Rolandan Finch returns and has played in only 2 games this season and has 114 rushing yards on 25 carries with a 4.6 yard average. David Dudeck has 25 rushing yards on 24 carries as well. The running game has been largely ineffective at times this season with only 30 rushing yards against Northwestern, 42 vs. Georgia Tech, 8 rushing yards vs. Maryland, and 12 against Wake Forest. Only 2 games this season have they exceeded 100 rushing yards this season which are 166 against division 1-AA Maine and 186 against Army.

Boston College RB's vs. Notre Dame Run Defense: The Eagles face the 11th ranked rushing defense of Notre Dame who has allowed 100.6 rushing yards a game and opponents to get 3.2 yards a carry, while only allowing 2 rushing touchdowns all season. This matchup also favors the Irish as Boston College has 122nd ranked run defense, which is 3rd worst in all of college football. Boston College will have a difficult time getting things going against a very strong front seven led by Manti Te'o and it is potentially possible for Notre Dame to hold Boston College to negative yards rushing as well.

Edge: Notre Dame

Notre Dame WR's and TE's: Tyler Eifert leads the Irish with 403 receiving yards on 28 receptions and has 3 touchdowns. TJ Jones has been having his best season yet with 383 receiving yards on 31 catches and 3 touchdowns, while Davaris Daniels has 23 receptions for 353 receiving yards as well. Robby Toma has 20 catches for 181 yards. Other players that have seen playing time include Daniel Smith (6 catches for 37 yards), Troy Niklas (4 catches for 68 yards), John Goodman (3 catches for 59 yards and 1 touchdown), and Chris Brown (1 reception for 50 yards).

Notre Dame WR's vs. Boston College DB's: The 73rd ranked pass defense hasn't been too good by surrendering quite a few touchdowns and letting opponents catch the ball often. This can play a big part in the short and deep passing game. By using TJ Jones on the short passes will help gain yards and first downs, while using Daniels, Eifert, and Brown in the deeper passing game will help too. It would also be good to involve younger players on the roster like Davonte Neal and Justin Ferguson as well to gain more playing time and help make an impact as well.

Edge: Notre Dame

Boston College WR's and TE's: Alex Amidon is having a very good season for Boston College with a team leading 67 receptions for 1,073 yards and 6 touchdowns. He has been the main target of Chase Rettig and is averaging 119 receiving yards a game as well and has more than double the number of yards the number 2 player has as well. Johnathan Coleman has 29 catches for 434 yards and 4 touchdowns. Bobby Swigert has 20 receptions for 245 yards and 1 touchdown, while Spiffy Evans has 17 catches for 193 yards and 1 touchdown. Chris Pantale has 10 receptions for 111 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Boston College WR's vs. Notre Dame DB's: Considering how many yards and receptions that Alex Amidon has this season, it is expected to see him line up against Bennett Jackson, and double coverage could be necessary in taking Amidon out of the receiving game as well. However Johnathan Coleman has to be accounted for as he is a big target at 6'4'' and 228 lbs. Considering how weak the running game is for Boston College and the high amount of sacks and tackle for loss that have been allowed, it is likely that Notre Dame will drop more players into coverage and need fewer players to rush. If Amidon and Coleman become non-factors in the game, it will be over quickly for Boston College.

Edge: Even

Notre Dame OL: Notre Dame's offensive line has done a solid job this season, especially in the run blocking area as they average 200 yards a game, 4.8 yards per rush, and have 18 rushing touchdowns. They have allowed 15 sacks this season, along with 37 quarterback hurries and 43 tackles for loss. The strength of the line is on the left side with senior center Braxston Cave and juniors Zach Martin and Chris Watt at left tackle and left guard.

Notre Dame OL vs. Boston College DL: Boston College has done a horrible job in quarterback pressure they have only had 6 sacks and 2 quarterback hurries all season long, while getting 31 tackles for loss as well. Considering the difficulties in getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks, this should mean that Golson will have plenty of opportunities to complete deep passes and be able to get the ball off in time and taking off to run will be fine with the poor rushing defense of Boston College.

Edge: Notre Dame

Boston College OL: The Eagles lost one of their best lineman in Ian White with a leg injury. The offensive line has allowed opponents to get into the backfield often with 22 sacks allowed along with 51 tackles for loss and 13 quarterback hurries. Run blocking has been very poor with the average per rush being only 2.8 yards and 77.4 rushing yards a game as well.

Boston College OL vs. Notre Dame DL: With Boston College's difficulties in keeping opposing defenders out of the backfield, it could be a long day with the defense of Notre Dame being one of the best this season, they have been able to consistently pressure opposing quarterbacks with 41 quarterback hurries, 26 sacks and 48 tackles for loss as well. Rotating in players on the line will not be difficult and Stephon Tuitt has a chance to get close to the single season record for sacks as he leads the team with 10 this season.

Edge: Notre Dame

Notre Dame DL: The defensive line of Notre Dame has been an absolute force for the Irish this season. The starters up front have all done a very impressive job this season. Stephon Tuitt has 35 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, 1 pass breakup, 9 quarterback hurries, 1 fumble recovery for a touchdown, 1 forced fumble, and a blocked kick. Louis Nix III played little in the early part of the game against Pittsburgh due to the flu, but couldn't be held down as he was a major reason behind the defense dominating in the second half and overtime. He has done a great job anchoring the middle at nose tackle with 34 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 3 pass breakups and 1 forced fumble. Kapron Lewis-Moore has been a major leader amongst the defensive line with 29 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, 1 pass breakup and 7 quarterback hurries. Sheldon Day has played extensively with 13 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 pass breakup, and 1 quarterback hurry. Tony Springmann has also been in on the action too with 8 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, and 2 quarterback hurries. Kona Schwenke also has played a lot and like everyone previously mentioned, has played in every game this season and has 5 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 0.5 sacks.

Notre Dame DL vs. Boston College OL: The dominating defensive line of Notre Dame will have plenty of opportunities to get to the quarterback and in the backfield since Boston College has allowed 22 sacks and 51 tackles for loss. Look for frequent substitutions on the defensive line to keep players fresh and allow the backups to get playing time as well. Tuitt has a good chance of getting really close to the single season sack record as well and the defensive line should have a pretty strong effort against the Eagles.

Boston College DL: The defensive line hasn't been too great this season as the line as a whole has only accumulated 4 sacks all season. The unit didn't have many losses after the 2011 season and getting sacks was difficult the previous season as well with the defense getting only 11 in 2011. Many young players have played such as redshirt freshman Kieran Borcich, soph's Brian Mihalik and Mehdi Abdesmad. The interior is young and also features underclassmen in the two deep as well. Kasim Edebali has been one of the better defensive lineman statistically with 40 tackles (leads defensive line), 5 tackles for loss (leads team), and 1.5 sacks (leads defensive line).

Boston College DL vs. Notre Dame OL: Considering the shortcomings of the defensive line, Notre Dame's offensive line should have little difficulties in keeping the Eagles defensive line at bay. With only a small amount of sacks and only 2 quarterback hurries accumulated all season, Everett Golson will have little difficulty in getting the ball to his receivers or gaining yards on the ground too.

Edge: Notre Dame

Notre Dame LB's: Manti Te'o has been having an outstanding season for Notre Dame and is a major candidate for the Heisman Trophy. He has a team leading 87 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 5 interceptions, 4 pass breakups, 4 quarterback hurries and 2 fumble recoveries. Te'o is the leader of the defense and the heart of the team as well and has had a tremendous impact in his four years at Notre Dame. Dan Fox has stepped his game up this season with 47 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 pass breakups, and 2 quarterback hurries. Prince Shembo has done great in quarterback pressure and has a team leading 11 quarterback hurries along with 38 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, and 1 pass breakup. Carlo Calabrese has 35 tackles and 1 tackle for loss while Danny Spond has 30 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss, 1 interception, and 2 pass breakups. Ishaq Williams has 15 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1 quarterback hurry, and 1 forced fumble. Others have played such as Jarrett Grace, Kendall Moore and Ben Councell. Overall, this is a very deep unit that gives Notre Dame one of the top front sevens in the nation.

Notre Dame LB's vs. Boston College: Boston College will more than likely rely on the passing game with their top running back out and having one of the worst running games too. It doesn't matchup well in that area, but shutting down the passing game is a higher priority as well, which could impact coverage and how many players are up front. The Irish might drop more players into coverage and have to shut down Alex Amidon and Johnathan Coleman in the receiving game. Look for strong games out of Manti Te'o and Prince Shembo in particular, but expect substitutions in the linebacker area to get more players playing time as needed.

Edge: Notre Dame

Boston College LB's: Boston College will be without one of their best linebackers in Kevin Pierre-Louis who battles injuries. He had 68 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, and 2 pass breakups this season. The unit is a step down this season after the loss of first round draft pick Luke Kuechly. Nick Clancy is having a good season with 107 tackles (leads team), 1.5 tackles for loss, and 8 pass breakups. Steele Divitto has 75 tackles, 3 pass breakups, 2 fumble recoveries, and 1 forced fumble this season. Many younger players have seen time like freshmen Tim Joy and Steven Daniels, along with soph's Josh Keyes and Sean Duggan.

Boston College LB's vs. Notre Dame: Considering that one of the biggest weaknesses of Boston College is the run defense, the linebackers will be run support often, but it will open up the passing game more for Everett Golson too. Even if Boston College loads up the box to try and generate pressure, it won't be enough since they have had difficulty in getting to the quarterback all season long and could lead to single coverage and allow Golson to get the ball to bigger targets like Tyler Eifert and Davaris Daniels.

Edge: Notre Dame

Notre Dame DB's: The secondary for the Irish has been a big surprise and has significantly exceeded expectations across the board. They have only allowed 2 opponents to pass for more than 200 yards on them, and this is despite losing 3 players to season-ending injury before or during the season. Zeke Motta has emerged as the leader of the secondary and has 45 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 2 pass breakups. Bennett Jackson is doing great in his first year starting with 44 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss, 4 interceptions, 2 pass breakups, and 1 fumble recovery. KeiVarae Russell has been having a great season and has been very good at tackling as well and has 43 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, 1 interception, 1 pass breakup, and 1 quarterback hurry. Matthias Farley has done well in stepping in for injured Jamoris Slaughter, but Farley was wearing a cast on his arm due to an injury, but should recover okay and play like normal, and he has 29 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and 1 interception. Elijah Shumate and Nicky Baratti have both seen playing time that has been vital at the same time.

Notre Dame DB's vs. Boston College WR's: Since Alex Amidon and Johnathan Coleman have a majority of the receiving yards, along with touchdowns, what the Notre Dame secondary needs to do is shut those two down. Considering how one-dimensional that Boston College's offense, if those two are taken out of the equation, it will greatly limit Chase Rettig's targets and not being able to get the ball to the 1,000+ yard receiver or the 6'4'' receiver will make it harder for Boston College to put drives together on offense.

Edge: Even

Boston College DB's: This has been one of the better areas for Boston College this season, but not by much. Sean Sylvia has 75 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 1 interception, and 2 pass breakups this season while Manual Asprilla has 34 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 2 interceptions, 3 pass breakups, and 1 forced fumble. Spencer Rositano has 33 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 3 interceptions, 3 pass breakups, and 1 forced fumble. Justin Simmons has 33 tackles, 1 interception, 2 pass breakups, and 2 forced fumbles while Jim Noel has 30 tackles, 2 interceptions, 2 pass breakups, and 1 forced fumble. The unit has been good at generating turnovers as the Boston College secondary has 9 interceptions and 5 forced fumbles.

Boston College DB's vs. Notre Dame WR's: Golson has done a good job at getting the ball to not only receivers like TJ Jones and Davaris Daniels, but also to running back Theo Riddick who has had a tremendous impact in both the running and receiving game and tight end Tyler Eifert. With that in mind, Golson has options and other players could also see playing time as well in addition to those mentioned as well. Eifert has been targeted more and more as of late after being a non-factor at points earlier in the season. Daniels has really emerged as a deep threat as well and Chris Brown is capable of catching deep passes as well.

Edge: Notre Dame

Notre Dame Kicking Game: Kyle Brindza has made 17 of 23 field goals this season with a long of 47. He has had consistency issues and has missed field goals in 4 of the last 5 games. Ben Turk has punted 38 times and has a 41 yard average with a long of 53 yards. He has 1 touchback, 15 fair caught, 10 inside the 20, and 7 that are 50 or more yards. Kyle Brindza has also been the kickoff specialist with 51 kickoffs with a 62.4 yard average and has 21 touchbacks as well.

Boston College Kicking Game: Nate Freese has made 12 of 14 field goals but his longest field goal has only been 39 yards. Gerald Levano has a 42.2 yard average in punting on 47 punts with a long of 66. He also has 3 touchbacks, 6 fair caught, 7 inside the 20, and 10 of 50 or more yards. Nate Freese is also the kickoff specialist with a 61.2 yard average on 40 kickoffs and 17 have been touchbacks, but one kickoff has been out-of-bounds.

Stronger Unit: Even

Notre Dame Return Game: George Atkinson III has returned 12 kickoffs for 229 yards with a 19.1 yard average, while Cam McDaniel has 6 returns for 118 yards and a 19.7 yard average. Punt returns are more or less a non-factor with Davonte Neal returning 13 for 34 yards this season.

Boston College Return Game: Spiffy Evans is the primary return specialist in both kickoffs and punts. For kickoffs he has returned 26 kickoffs for 487 yards and has a 18.7 yard average and in punt returns he has returned 7 punts for 221 yards and 1 touchdown and a long of 82 and a 31.6 yard average.

Strong Unit: Boston College

Everything Else: Boston College has been in an absolute tailspin since the firing of Jeff Jagodzinski after the 2008 season who went 22-8 in 2 seasons. Frank Spaziani stepped in after many years of being defensive coordinator and his record each season has become worse and worse. After 8-5 in 2009 and 7-6 in 2010, it has slipped to 4-8 in 2011 and currently 2-7 in 2012. Boston College is the worst team that Notre Dame this season. Their two wins have come against a division 1-AA team in Maine and a 20-17 win over Maryland that was down to their 4th string quarterback in that game. The passing game has been good this season and they have a 1,000+ yard receiver this season but are one-dimensional on offense. The defense has been awful this season, especially against the run and in getting to opposing quarterbacks. Injuries have also been an issue as well for the team on both offense and defense. If the Irish defense consistently gets pressure on Chase Rettig and shuts down his top 2 receivers while also taking the run game out of the equation, it will lead to many three-and-outs. A balanced attack on offense is best while also rotating players to get playing time is also vital. The running backs should be able to get yards without difficulty on the Boston College defense. Younger receivers also should be able to get playing time that helps in the long run as well. Notre Dame has also performed at its best on the road as well this season and should have an easy win over Boston College.

Prediction: Notre Dame 51, Boston College 3

No comments: