Notre Dame didn't look playoff-worthy in win over BC

Al Lesar
South Bend Tribune

BOSTON — Bury those lousy green uniforms ASAP.

The Shamrock Series duds fit for an alien served their purpose Saturday night, but they’ve just got too many goofs in them.

Under Armour better check for slippery residue.

Fortunately for the Notre Dame football team, odd (good defense, awful offense) Boston College was the opposition. The Irish — somehow — weathered three red-zone turnovers, another fumble and pick in the first 30 minutes, and still came away with a 19-16 victory at Fenway Park.

That doesn’t even count two fumbles that were negated by players being ruled down. And then there were three Will Fuller dropped passes that rarely happen.

Maybe it had something to do with the footballs. Something in the ... air? They have those sorts of problems in this neck of the woods, you know.

This game deserved to be played in a snowstorm at Notre Dame Stadium. It was messy enough. Couldn’t have looked much worse in slush.

Poise wasn’t a strong suit for anyone in those goofy green on green unis.

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly’s plan for this game was to be more aggressive than last week’s sluggish performance against Wake Forest. Kelly forgot to factor ball security into the equation. Notre Dame’s quarterback seemed more like Everett Golson, circa 2014, than DeShone Kizer, 2015.

Irish running back C.J. Prosise, who left the game with an apparent ankle injury, was responsible for one fumble before being helped off the field in the second quarter.

He had just returned to action after missing the Wake Forest game with a concussion and is now in jeopardy of missing next week’s pivotal season finale against Stanford.

Speaking of Stanford, what’s that game on the coast going to be worth?

Will the College Football Playoff Selection Committee view this as a game in which the Irish spent most of the time with the Eagles up against their own end zone, or a dismal display of carelessness by a team hardly worthy of a Top-4 ranking.

Whatever the case, there will be angst and opinions on both sides of the discussion.

Saturday night, Notre Dame was not a playoff-worthy team.

Even with Ohio State’s loss causing havoc among the top contenders, this effort could be hard to process. Forgiveness isn’t one of the strong suits of the selection committee.

There were all sorts of Irish blunders that didn’t have serious consequences.

They gave up a 67-yard kickoff return to start the second half. Boston College netted just two yards on its first offensive series, and settled for three points.

Notre Dame’s defensive brain cramp sent the flow to the left and BC quarterback Jeff Smith to the right. Eighty yards later the Eagles had their first touchdown.

C.J. Sanders misplayed a couple punts, losing yards rather than the ball. Then there was a bad connection on a PAT attempt that cost the Irish a point. Kizer, the holder, scrambled but couldn’t get a pass to the end zone.

Notre Dame benefited from some BC boo-boos.

In the first quarter, after the Eagles recovered a Prosise fumble on their own 32, a three-and-out stop ended when a faked punt was fumbled.

A little later, right before the end of the first quarter, Notre Dame was stopped when Justin Yoon’s 44-yard field goal hit the right upright. However, Yoon was roughed. Two plays later, Kizer hit Amir Carlisle with the only TD of the first half.

Kizer came within a whisker of a fourth red-zone goof. From the BC 12, he lofted a pass to the corner of the end zone that Chris Brown was able to snatch away from John Johnson for the score.

There was little that was fundamentally pleasing in this display of football.

The logistics of playing football at a baseball shrine had its quirks. Both teams were staged on the same sidelines — from the goal line to the 45 on each side. At halftime, Kelly was asked by a television reporter if it was getting chippy between the two staffs. He downplayed the interaction with a joke.

At the end of the third quarter, the BC bench was flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Boston College managers would regularly hoist a large bed sheet-sized cloth, like something they grabbed off their bed in the dorm, so that no one on the Irish sidelines would be tempted to… heaven forbid… steal a sign. The Irish had their own dividers, but at least they weren’t bed sheets.

Let’s see … What’s the sign for hang onto the ball?

Blame the uniforms.

Notre Dame’s Torii Hunter Jr. (16) tries to break away from Boston College’s Gabriel McClary (14) during the first half of the Notre Dame-Boston College NCAA football game on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015, inside Fenway Park in Boston, Mass. SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN