Notebook: Shaun Crawford has excessive reasons to celebrate for Notre Dame

Mike Vorel and Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — The penalty was called for excessive celebration.

But considering all that Shaun Crawford has been through, can anything be deemed excessive?

This time two years ago, Notre Dame’s 5-foot-9, 176-pound junior cornerback was out for the season, mending a torn ACL. This time last year, he was out for the season again, mending a torn Achilles tendon.

On Saturday, he was back. Really back. Finally, joyously — “excessively” — back.

In the third quarter of Notre Dame’s 49-20 victory over Boston College, Crawford ran with Eagle wide receiver Kobay White along the Irish sideline. After his teammates began to shout, “Ball! Ball!," Crawford turned his head, located the football and wrestled it away from White for the first of two interceptions in the win.

He didn’t celebrate with a teammate, a trainer or a coach.

Not just one, anyway.

“It was the entire team, really,” Crawford said. “All of the staff, too, just because they know it’s been a long road. That’s the only reason why I’m here. I wouldn’t be here without them.”

On Saturday, Crawford arrived. The junior from Lakewood, Ohio, finished with two tackles, two interceptions, one fumble recovery and a pass breakup. He also surrendered a touchdown on a controversial catch by Boston College wide receiver Charlie Callinan.

Sure beats this time last year.

Beats this time last week, too.

“(Cornerbacks) coach Todd Lyght always tells me, ‘Just go make a play. Go do you.’ It finally came,” Crawford said. “I was pushing for it a little bit the first and second game, but I just relaxed and it came. I’m just excited.”

Crawford — and his teammates, and his coaches — aren’t the only ones. After the victory, the junior cornerback sang the Alma Mater with his teammates, then ran to the corner of the Alumni Stadium bleachers to hug his parents, who drove from Ohio to watch him play.

“The first thing my mom said was, ‘God is good,’ ” Crawford said. “After that second interception, I didn’t even believe it. I just caught it, took a breath and looked up to the sky.”

That celebration was less “excessive.”

There may be more celebrations to come.

Big day for Marauders

Members of the Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter’s Prep coaching staff made the trip to Chestnut Hill to see four former players in action for Notre Dame and Boston College.

They had plenty to watch. All four started and played major roles in the game.

For Notre Dame, quarterback Brandon Wimbush rushed for 207 yards and four touchdowns in a winning effort. For Boston College, wide receiver Charlie Callinan caught seven passes for 82 yards and two touchdowns, all career highs. Running back Jon Hilliman racked up 122 rushing yards, and he ran behind center Ben Petrula, making his second career start as a freshman.

“They got to experience a little St. Peter’s Prep reunion and some big-time college football,” Wimbush said. “That was good. Charlie had a great game, and so did Jon Hilliman.”

Wimbush and Callinan combined for six of the nine touchdowns scored in the game.

Notre Dame has verbal commitments from three St. Peter’s Prep players in the 2018 recruiting class: defensive tackle Jayson Ademilola, defensive end Justin Ademilola and rover Shayne Simon. Former Irish walk-on Marquis Dickerson works at St. Peter’s Prep as a co-defensive line coach.

Run it up

Boston College doesn’t get rolled over by running attacks.

Just ask head coach Steve Addazio.

“Our bell cow was defense, and we don’t give up rushing yards like that, and we let it up on big plays,” Addazio said after Notre Dame steamrolled to 515 rushing yards Saturday, the most by an Irish team since 1969. “It wasn’t like when you get ground-pounded to death. Just let up big runs. That’s what happened here. We don’t do that, but we did.”

The Eagles have allowed more than 515 rushing yards only once in program history: Army rushed for 516 yards in 2012, two months before Addazio took over as Boston College’s head coach. Army also rushed for 515 yards against the Eagles in 1985.

Notre Dame notched carries of more than 45 yards on four occasions in the Irish victory — two by running back Josh Adams (65 and 64) and two by Wimbush (46 and 65).

Injury issues

Two Notre Dame wide receivers made their first career starts on Saturday: sophomore Chase Claypool (X) and junior Chris Finke (slot).

Head coach Brian Kelly said after the game that graduate student Cameron Smith, who started the first two games at the X position, rolled an ankle and could only practice lightly during the week. Fellow graduate student Freddy Canteen, who started the first two games in the slot, also missed the game with an injury but was listed on the travel roster.

In their absence, Claypool somehow led all Irish wide receivers in catches (2) and receiving yards (8). Finke failed to record a catch.

Sophomore running back Tony Jones Jr. also left the field on a cart late in Saturday’s game. Kelly confirmed that Jones — who rushed twice for five yards and a touchdown in the win — received an X-ray on his ankle, which came back negative.

Squibs

• Boston College freshman running back AJ Dillon — the grandson of former Notre Dame wide receiver great Thom Gatewood — finished with 16 carries for 58 yards and a fumble on Saturday.

“Watch AJ Dillon. That guy is going to have a lot of future (production),” Addazio said.

• The Irish set a modern-day school record with an average of 10.1 yards per rush against Boston College. The previous record of 10 yards per rush was set against Great Lakes in 1942. Notre Dame rushed for seven touchdowns for the first time since the Navy game in 2011.

• Notre Dame's defense forced Boston College to punt on the first series of the game. The Irish have done so to opponents in all three games this season.

Notre Dame’s Shaun Crawford (20) celebrates one of his two interceptions during Notre Dame's 49-20 victory over Boston College, Saturday at Chestnut Hill, Mass. (Tribune Photo/MICHAEL CATERINA)