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Notre Dame Football

Fighting Irish Ship Eagles back up to Boston in 44-0 Rout

November 19, 2022

On Saturday, 17 mph winds caused it to feel like 15 degrees Fahrenheit in South Bend. Snow flurries impaired visibility at times. 

It was the type of conditions 18 to 22-year-old college football players must be motivated to play in. 

Clearly, Boston College (3-8) wanted to be anywhere other than Notre Dame Stadium on senior day. 

No. 18 Notre Dame (8-3) jumped out to a 37-0 halftime lead, before cruising toward a 44-0 victory over the Eagles. 

“We spent a lot of time last night as a team talking about the opportunity that we get to perform one more time at Notre Dame Stadium,” coach Marcus Freeman said. “It's a special place, and our performance hasn't always reflected that.”

The Irish scored on all seven of its first-half possessions and picked up 336 total yards, including 214 yards on the ground. 

That marked Notre Dame’s most dominant opening half since gaining 357 yards and 45 unanswered points against Georgia Tech on Notre Dame’s senior day in 2021. 

In the second half against the Eagles, Notre Dame controlled the clock while continuing its suffocating defense. 

Throughout the contest, the Irish harassed Boston College quarterback Emmett Morehead. The redshirt freshman completed just one of his first seven passes and finished 9-21 for 117 yards and three interceptions, each of which was snagged by freshman cornerback Benjamin Morrison.

Former Irish quarterback Phil Jurkovec announced via an Instagram post prior to kickoff that he would be unable to play due to a “concussion, broken rib and sprained MCL.”

The Irish sacked Morehead four times for a total loss of 33 yards, which included defensive end Isaiah Foskey’s 25th career quarterback takedown. He’s now Notre Dame’s all-time sack leader, breaking Justin Tuck’s record. 

“He didn't come back just to break the record,” Freeman said of Foskey. “He came back to win a national championship, and you know what, he didn't win a championship this year.  But what he did for this program and what those seniors did for this program to me will be the reason why we do win a national championship in the upcoming future.”

In total, the Eagles gained 173 total yards on offense. Their 56 rush yards were just a tad under their season average of 61.4 yards per game, which ranked dead last among 131 FBS programs. 

On offense, the Irish finished with 437 total yards and nearly matched a season-high on the ground with 281 rush yards. Notre Dame ran for 287 yards against North Carolina. 

Running back Logan Diggs led the way with 15 carries for 122 yards and a touchdown. He also snagged a 28-yard reception on a wheel route in the first half. Audric Estime added two touchdowns on an 11-carry, 71-yard performance. He leads the Irish with 12 total touchdowns this season. 

Quarterback Drew Pyne threw the ball well enough to keep the Eagles honest against the Fighting Irish rush attack. He completed 13 of 25 passes for 156 yards and a 1-yard touchdown pass to former walk-on wideout Matt Salerno, the first score of his career. 

“What a great example for our team —  a guy who said I'm choosing Notre Dame because of what this academic institution will do for my future,” Freeman said. “But I'm going to bust my tail and pay for school.  He busted his tail, and now he's on scholarship. For him to get his first touchdown, I'm glad to hear that. He deserves it.”

Tight end Michael Mayer led the Irish in receiving for the ninth time this season. He finished with five catches for 64 yards and became the 13th Notre Dame pass catcher to ever eclipse 2,000 receiving yards. 

For his career, Mayer has 172 catches, 2,002 yards and 16 touchdowns, each setting the all-time record by an Irish tight end. 

Experts and analysts peg him as a potential top-10 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, so his Notre Dame career may be nearing its end. 

“He's a captain as a junior,” Freeman said. “He's a great leader — a leader by example; a leader by his words.  He is an unbelievable football player.  It's been unbelievable to have him here, and we'll see what the future holds.”

Stats of the Night

Morrison picked off Morehead three times. He now has five interceptions of the season and two multi-interception games. 

His three picks tie a school record, which is now held by 15 Fighting Irish players. Safety Harrison Smith was the last Notre Dame player with three interceptions in a contest, which occurred in the team’s 33-17 win over the University of Miami in the 2010 Sun Bowl.

Coming into the day, Miami safety Kamren Kinchens led the nation in interceptions with six.

The Irish have nine interceptions in 2022. 

In total, Notre Dame forced five Boston College turnovers. Prior to Saturday, Notre Dame had forced just eight turnovers in 10 games and held a -4 turnover margin. 

The Irish are now even. 

Highlights of the Night

Here’s Foskey’s record-breaking 25th sack of his career.

Big Picture

The Irish picked up their most dominant win of the season to improve to 8-3. 

Notre Dame had played down to weaker competition throughout the fall, losing to Marshall and Stanford and defeating California and Navy by one-score margins. 

Beating Boston College 44-0 can create the type of momentum the Irish want heading into what will likely be a top-15 showdown next weekend. 

What’s Next?

Notre Dame will play its regular-season finale at the LA Memorial Coliseum to face No. 7 USC (9-1, 7-1 Pac-12). The Fighting Irish are in the midst of a four-game win streak over their SoCal rivals, which began with a 49-14 win at Notre Dame Stadium in 2017.

Saturday will mark the 93rd matchup between the two programs. The Irish hold the all-time series lead, 50-37-5.

The Trojans play No. 16 UCLA (8-2, 5-2 Pac-12) on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on FOX. 

If USC wins they’ll earn a guaranteed spot in the Pac-12 Championship game. Even with a loss, the Trojans could head to Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Dec. 2, but they would need some help to navigate the screwy tiebreaker scenarios

“I told them let's enjoy this tonight, but we know what we have coming up next week,” Freeman said. “We've got a great opportunity and a great challenge.  Enjoy tonight, and let's get ready to go back to work tomorrow.”

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