Instant Observations after Notre Dame bounces Boston College, 40-7

Tom Noie
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND — Observations following Notre Dame's 40-7 victory Saturday over Boston College….

• Maybe it was the lack of big plays and scoring plays after the explosion of both the previous week against Navy, but the first half was rough to watch….and maybe for some, to stay awake. Notre Dame led 16-7 at the break. Before anyone knew it, it jumped to 33-7.

• Saturday's win allowed Notre Dame to finish the season undefeated at home for a second straight season. That hasn't happened since 1988 and 1989.

• Notre Dame ran its home win streak to 18 straight dating back to its last loss (to Georgia in 2017). Expect that run to climb over 20 with home games against Arkansas, Western Michigan, Stanford and Duke to start 2020.

• The 2020 home opener against Arkansas is Sept. 12. Its biggest home game? That’s easy — Clemson on Nov. 2.

• Jonathan Doerer kicked a personal high four field goals. What was a huge concern heading into the season really hasn't been. Doerer is 12-of-14 on field goals, 47-for-47 on extra points.

• With his seven receptions, Irish wide receiver Chase Claypool moved into a tie with tight end Tyler Eifert for eighth all-time on the school receptions list with 140.

• Quarterback Ian Book led the Irish in rushing (66 yards) for the fourth straight game. Last time Book didn't lead the Irish in rush yards was Michigan, when Jahmir Smith ran for a team-high 15 yards.

• Don't think this is what the Atlantic Coast Conference wanted when it took Notre Dame as a partial member. The Irish are 14-1 against the ACC the last three seasons. The loss was in 2016 at Miami (Fla.).

• Notre Dame might have been able to massage the attendance numbers for last week’s game against Navy to keep the 273-game sellout streak going (it died), but the empty seats Saturday were way more obvious, especially in the stadium’s corners and student sections. Attendance in the 77,622-seat stadium was 71,827.

• Saturday marked the first time since 1964 that the Irish played consecutive home games in front of less than capacity crowds. That year, Notre Dame hosted UCLA and Stanford in games that weren’t sellouts.

• When Notre Dame fell into a 7-6 hole early in the second quarter, it marked the first time the Irish had trailed since late in the fourth quarter three games earlier against Virginia Tech.

• A Massachusetts native, Irish coach Brian Kelly is 6-0 all-time against Boston College.

• Running back Jafar Armstrong slid down the depth chart for this one. Once expected to be the No. 1 back, Armstrong watched Tony Jones Jr. and C’Bo Flemister (one time, the fifth stringer) handle most of the rush duties. Even wide receiver Braden Lenzy got a carry before Armstrong, who did not have a carry.

• Irish sophomore rover Paul Moala wore jersey No. 70 to participate on kickoff return. NCAA rules prohibit more than one player from wearing the same jersey number on respective offense/defense/special teams units. Moala usually wears No. 13, which also is worn by wide receiver/kick returner Lawrence Keys III. Moala also wore No. 70 on defense during a failed goal-line stand in the second quarter.

• Among former Irish in attendance Saturday was NFL All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson of the Indianapolis Colts. Notre Dame could have used the former left guard. The Irish offensive line was flagged for four penalties in the first half.

• The start time for Saturday’s season finale at Stanford weekend remains TBD — to be determined. An announcement is expected by Monday at the latest. The likely options are either a 1:30 p.m. or 4:30 p.m. Pacific time kick — 4:30 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. Eastern time. Gotta figure on a late kick, which would give the Irish a night game for all five of their road games this season. Notre Dame is 2-2 on the road.

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Notre Dame safety Alohi Gilman reacts after making a stop during Saturday's game against Boston College.