Players to watch: Notre Dame vs. Boston College

Carter Karels
South Bend Tribune

Here’s a look at a few players to watch in Saturday’s game (3:30 p.m. EST on ABC) between No. 2 Notre Dame (7-0, 6-0 ACC) and Boston College (5-3, 4-3).


Former Notre Dame running back Autry Denson holds the record in program history for the most rushing yards (1,437 in 13 games) in a single season. Williams (767 rushing yards in seven games) has an opportunity to top that record. None of his next four opponents have stout run defenses. Boston College (49), North Carolina (55), Syracuse (104) and Wake Forest (74) each rank outside the top 45 nationally against the run. Look for Williams to begin his prolific final stretch on Saturday.


If junior TaRiq Bracy earns the start over the true freshman Lewis at field cornerback, he will be the player to watch. Irish head coach Brian Kelly said either corner could earn the nod against the Eagles. Bracy was benched in the first quarter of the Clemson game after allowing wide receiver Cornell Powell to catch a 53-yard touchdown in one-on-one coverage. Lewis replaced and out snapped Bracy 70-8. BC features a quarterback in Phil Jurkovec who brings a strong arm and a productive wide receiver in Zay Flowers (38 catches for 600 yards and six touchdowns). Those two could be testing the wide side of the field all afternoon.

QB PHIL JURKOVEC, Boston College

Saturday provides an opportunity for Irish transfer Jurkovec to outduel Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book in a revenge game of sorts. Jurkovec (172-of-277 passing for 2,083 yards and 15 touchdowns with four interceptions; 65 rushes for 96 yards and three scores) comes into the game with better stats than Book (1,535 yards and eight touchdowns with one interception on 114-of-189 passing; 279 rushing yards and five touchdowns on 65 carries). But Jurkovec (140.2) slightly trails Book (141.4) in passer-efficiency rating. For Jurkovec to be the better quarterback in this one, he will need to replicate the success Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei had last week. Uiagalelei completed 11 passes of at least 14 yards and six longer than 21 yards.


Last season, Richardson claimed second team All-ACC honors after leading BC with 108 tackles and 14.5 tackles for a loss. This season, he leads the Eagles with 79 tackles and eight tackles for a loss. He has at least eight tackles in all but one game this season. The 6-foot, 230-pound Richardson will be the key to BC slowing down the Irish ground game. He failed to do so at Notre Dame Stadium in 2019. The Irish rushed for 252 yards and a touchdown on 44 attempts in the 40-7 win.

Notre Dame running back Kyren Williams (23) celebrates after his first quarter touchdown against No. 1 Clemson at Notre Dame Stadium.
Pittsburgh wide receiver Shocky Jacques-Louis (18) runs after a catch as Boston College linebacker Max Richardson (14) defends.

Who: No. 2 Notre Dame (7-0) vs. Boston College (5-3)

Kickoff: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. EST

Where: Alumni Stadium; Chestnut Hill, Mass.


Radio: WSBT (AM 960, FM 96.1), WNSN-FM (101.5)

Line: Notre Dame by 13