Brian Kelly was worried about a potential letdown following his team’s thrilling win last week against fourth-ranked Clemson University. But instead, the Everett, Massachusetts native watched his second-ranked Notre Dame football team pick-up its eighth win of the season as the Fighting Irish beat Boston College, 45-31, in Chestnut Hill.
With the win, Notre Dame improves to 8-0, including 7-0 against Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) foes while Boston College dips to 5-4.
Notre Dame’s Ian Book completed 20 of 27 passes for 283 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for a game-high 85 yards on 10 carries and one score. All three of Book’s touchdown passes landed in the hands of Ben Skowronek, who caught fives passes for 63 yards. Boston College’s Jaelen Gill led all receivers with 105 receiving yards.
Despite a slow start, Notre Dame truly gained momentum, as well as the lead, in the second quarter by scoring three touchdowns to secure a 31-16 lead at the break.
The Fighting Irish’s lead would continue to grow as the second half progressed, but the Eagles were able to reduce the deficit with touchdowns by David Bailey and Hunter Long.
Notre Dame retained possession following Boston College’s final score and drained the clock with five rushing plays, along with a pair of kneel-downs following an unsportsmanlike penalty against Maximilian Roberts.
As a team, Notre Dame recorded 29 first downs while converting two fourth down attempts. They also produced 557 yards of total offense while Boston College finished the game with 357 total yards.
Tonight’s win was Brian Kelly’s 100th victory with the Fighting Irish. He joins Lou Holtz and Knute Rockne, who have also recorded 100 wins or more as the head coach of the Notre Dame football team.
Both teams are off next weekend, but will return to the gridiron on Friday, November 27. Boston College will host Louisville at 12 p.m. while Notre Dame will visit North Carolina for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff.
The first official Saturday of the 2020 college football season is less than 24 hours away – crazy, right?
For the past few days, weeks, and months, both I and others, have debated if and how a season could be played, especially during the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. But somehow, some teams have found a way to keep everyone safe, including coaches, too.
And we already have a few games in the books, including a Week 0 affair between the Austin Peay State University and the University of Central Arkansas, which saw the Bears win by a score of 24-17.
UAB jumped out to a 28-21 advantage by the break while holding the Bears to just two touchdowns in the second half.
According to UCA coach Nathan Brown, UAB may be the “the best team we play all year.”
Next week the Bears will be idle before returning to the gridiron on Saturday, September 19 for a 6 p.m. kickoff against Arkansas State.
South Alabama was also victorious last night as the Jaguars topped the Golden Eagles of Southern Mississippi by a score of 32-21.
Southern Alabama’s Desmond Trotter and Chance Lovertich combined for three touchdown passes and 363 yards of total offense while Carlos Davis rushed for a game-high 85 yards on 15 carries.
Clemson secures top spot in ACC Preseason Poll: By no surprise, the Tigers of Clemson secured the top spot in this year’s Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) media poll while Notre Dame and North Carolina checked-in second and third, respectively.
Syracuse and Georgia Tech rounded out the final two spots in the 15 team poll, checking-in 14th, and 15th, respectively.
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence was picked to win the ACC Player of the Year award.
Noontime’s Game of the Week: Army over Middle Tennessee State University: The Black Knights have enjoyed a great deal of success over the past few years in their home stadium – in fact, they’re 17-2 in West Point, New York, according to Saturday’s preview, dating back to the 2016 season.
Army ended its 2019 campaign with back-to-back losses, including a 31-7 setback to Navy, along with just five wins, but for the Black Knights to be successful, both tomorrow and this fall, they will need their quarterbacks – Jabari Laws and Christian Anderson – to play their best football.
While I know Middle Tennessee may be the favorite in this game, I’m going with an early-season upset alert with the Army edging the Blue Raiders on the final drive.
Noontime’s Game of the Week Prediction: Army 24, Middle Tennessee 22
Noontime’s Week One Predictions
Marshall over Eastern Kentucky
Army over Middle Tennessee
Southern Methodist University (SMU) over Texas State
North Texas over Houston Baptist
Memphis over Arkansas State
Stephen F. Austin over the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP)
Navy over Brigham Young University (BYU) (the game will be played on Monday, September 7 at 8 p.m.)
Some random thoughts after looking around at the local and national basketball landscape.
The Atlantic Coast Conference(ACC)/Big Ten Conference(B1G) Basketball Challenge is always at the top of my viewing list each year – I love channel surfing.
This year, the Big 10 Conference reigned supreme with some impressive showings by Maryland, Purdue, Ohio State, and Penn State.
Purdue absolutely dismantled Virginia and exposed the ‘Hoos offensive shortcomings while Ohio State throttled North Carolina. It’s early but Ohio State is looking like they have the horsepower to make a run to the Final Four next April.
Speaking of the ACC, Boston College is on a four-game losing spin and facing a rigorous conference road trip this Saturday at Norte Dame. A highly-touted freshman class must grow up in a hurry or the Eagles will once again reside in the ACC’s bottom quartile.
Save the date: current No. 1 Louisville will visit Conte Forum on Jan. 29. Tip-off is scheduled for 9 p.m.
Carl Pierre, who played high school basketball at Boston College High School, is having an excellent season at UMass. The 2017 Catholic Conference MVP and two-time conference all-star selection is currently averaging 12 points per game.
Pierre and the Minutemen will visit Harvard on Saturday, December 7th with tip-off scheduled for 1 p.m. UMass will attempt to snap a four-game skid, which began prior to Thanksgiving with a 58-46 setback to Virginia. Harvard enters the non-conference clash at 4-4 – the Crimson have lost two-straight since beating Texas A&M last Thursday.
Newton North’s Ethan Wright has seen an uptick in playing time this season with the Princeton Tigers. The second-year guard has logged 93 minutes in six contests this season – he even started a game last month against Indiana. Wright has scored 13 points on 5 of 21 shooting, including 3 of 14 from beyond the arc. He has pulled down 13 rebounds, including two offensive caroms to go along with five assists and two blocks.
Wright and the Tigers sit at 1-6 and are scheduled to compete next Tuesday, December 10th against Monmouth. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.
Coach Trish Brown and the Stonehill College women’s basketball team are off to an impressive 6-2 start. Sure, their lone setbacks have come against Bentley and Molloy, but they have been fun to watch, especially in their last two contests against Assumption College and Franklin Pierce.
Emily Bramanti, who played locally for Westford Academy, credited all of her teammates in their most recent win against the Ravens for stepping-up and making plays when needed.
Bramanti concluded her team’s eighth contest with a team-high 16 points.
Stonehill hosts Saint Anselm College on Saturday before heading to Daytona Beach Florida two weeks later to compete in the Daytona Beach Shootout.
Finally, the Babson College men’s basketball team scored an exciting and impressive win last night over Amherst College. Frank Oftring, who grew up in North Attleboro, Massachusetts netted a career-high 30 points in the win to go along with 10 rebounds.
Babson’s Andrew Jaworski finished with 23 points with four of those points being recorded during the final 30 seconds of the second half.
Babson, which is 12-3 against the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) dating back to the 2016-17 season, will look to continue its early-season momentum this weekend when they compete in the New England Big 4 Challenge at Salem State University.
I’m getting ready to head back to warm and sunny Florida so I’ll be writing from the Sunshine State next week.
The March Madness field is set after the conclusion of last nights ‘first four’ contests.
In case you missed it Farleigh Dickinson, Belmont, Arizona State, and North DakotaState punched tickets to the big dance.
The tournament will start today with Louisville and Minnesota tipping-off in Des Moines, Iowa at 12:15 p.m.
Looking around New England there are three teams with high hopes to be one of the Cinderella teams. Here’s a close up look at the three teams and the first round matchups.
No. 3 LSU vs. No. 14 Yale: Yale picked up the Ivy League’s automatic bid with a decisive 97-85 win over arch rival Harvard in the conference championship final last weekend.
The Bulldogs are the real deal and could cause problems for LSU with a veteran lineup and an explosive offense led by Ivy League Player of Year Miye Oni, who enters today’s contest averaging 17.6 points per game. Oni is projected by many to be a second-round NBA draft pick and if the dynamic point guard is allowed to control tempo this game could result in a win for the Blue and White.
LSU is one of the country’s most athletic and talented squads and most deserving of the third seed, as well. However, there are questions and controversy surrounding the Tigers because they had a first-round flameout in the SEC tournament and their head coach Will Wade is embroiled in an FBI recruiting investigation.
LSU and Yale will meet in Jacksonville, Florida this afternoon where the Bulldogs will attempt to improve to 2-0 in the Sunshine State after rallying to beat Miami last December at the Hoophall Miami Invitational at American Airlines Arena.
No. 4 Florida State vs. No. 13 Vermont: Gotta love the Catamounts who play in basketball-crazy Burlington, Vermont.
UVM is led by junior Anthony Lamb, who averages 21.4 points per game – expect Lamb to be a factor in his team’s early afternoon clash, as well as the team’s lockdown defense which may give the ‘Noles trouble in the opening minutes.
Florida State is playing excellent basketball having defeated Virginia is the ACC tournament before losing to Duke in the title game.
Many feel Leonard Hamilton’s squad has the length, athleticism, and skill to go all the way but will patience or lack thereof cause them to stumble under tournament pressure? Either way, I like the ‘Noles to win this contest but it won’t be easy.
No. 4 Kansas vs. No. 13 Northeastern:Bill Cohen‘s Huskies punched their ticket to the big dance with a solid 82-74 takedown over Hofstra in the CAA title game last week.
Northeastern’s explosive point guard Vasa Pusica led the way with 21 points on seven three-pointers. The Huskies are one of the country’s top three-point shooting teams and if they can adjust to the change in elevation in Salt Lake City then it may cause the Jayhawks some trouble.
This past season hasn’t been one of Bill Self’s better teams which saw its record of 14 Big 12 Conference regular-season titles come to an end. Injuries have plagued Kansas and as a result, Self has been forced to play a bunch of first-year players.
The Huskies with Pusica at the controls will make life difficult for one of college basketball’s elite programs but in the end, I like Kansas.
Stay connected with our Noontime Sports New England basketball coverage on Twitter @Noontime_Hoops
Steve Addazio has some key pieces in place to make an exciting run this fall. (PHOTO CREDIT: AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
By Dan Flaherty (@TheSportsNotebo)
Boston College has been as predictable a college football program as any in the country, at least since Steve Addazio became head coach back in 2013.
In Addazio’s five seasons, he’s finished 7-6 four different times, including the last two years. That’s what made the Over/Under win totals released in Las Vegas earlier this month so interesting—BC was listed at 5.5.
Furthermore, this doubt comes in a year when Addazio returns 14 starters. He brings back his entire offensive line. He brings back A.J. Dillon, a sophomore running back who rushed for nearly 1,600 yards last year. He brings a quarterback in Anthony Brown who got valuable experience last year as a freshman.
Defensively, the Eagles can build around defensive end Zach Allen, a disruptor that has the NFL in his future.
The doubt on Boston College also comes at a time when the opportunity to move up the ladder in the ACC’s Atlantic Division is there for the taking. While Clemson is firmly entrenched at the top, the Florida State program is in flux after the departure of coach Jimbo Fisher and Louisville’s rise under Bobby Petrino seems to have crested. Boston College beat both FSU and Louisville last season.
But the Eagles lost decisively to Wake Forest and N.C. State – both teams are divisional rivals. They are each more highly regarded on the Vegas Strip at the moment.
Addazio’s program is a throwback, built on physical football and tough defense that works to overcome mediocre play (at best) from the quarterback position. Brown’s numbers last year—52% completion percentage, 5.3 yards-per-attempt and 11 touchdowns versus nine interceptions—look straight out of the 1970s.
In an era where everything is seen to be about the quarterback, BC is not going to have believers as long as this current trend continues. Nor is there any reason to expect a change of course this season.
While it’s reasonable to expect improvement from Brown, I don’t think there will be too many comparisons to Matt Ryan floating around the Heights. And on the positive side, there is every reason to think Boston College can take what it usually does well under Addazio and simply do it better.
Dillon is one of the best halfbacks in college football. His most impressive number isn’t the yardage totals—you can attribute at least some of that to the workload he gets in this offense. The most impressive number is his 5.3 yards-per-rush. That’s good under any circumstances, and especially when opposing defenses know you’re getting the ball.
Dillon, with that veteran offensive line in front of him, molded by the hard-nosed Addazio, can make a run at ACC Player of the Year. If he breaks 2,000 yards, an invite to the Heisman banquet in early December could be in the offing.
How far Dillon can carry the Eagles will be apparent by mid-October. After tuneup games with Massachusetts and Holy Cross, Boston College faces two road games that will provide a good early gauge on where they’re at. They go to Wake Forest on a Thursday night and then visit Purdue, a Big Ten Conference team on the rise, the following Saturday.
After a game with Temple to close September, BC has a road game at N.C. State and a home date with Louisville. By this point in the schedule, the Eagles need to be 5-2. They’ll go into a bye week and on the far side of that bye are four games in four weeks—against Miami, Virginia Tech, Clemson and Florida State. The Eagles have to hope they can steal one win during this stretch and then close the season at home by beating Syracuse. That gets them to seven wins again.
I’m one who likes old-fashioned football and I really hope Addazio can do it. The schedule is difficult and in a different environment, the head coach might be in real trouble. But in a market where media hype and fan intensity hones in on pro sports, the BC boss can keep people happy if he just keeps winning seven games each season, while providing a little Saturday afternoon diversion.
As long as the benchmark stays that reasonable, I think he’ll continue to do it in 2018.