Instant observations: Snow globe perfection as Notre Dame dominates Boston College
SOUTH BEND — Following are three quick thoughts and other news and notes and anecdotes following Saturday’s game between Boston College and No. 18 Notre Dame, won by Notre Dame, 44-0, in front of an announced crowd of 73,503 brave/cold souls at Notre Dame Stadium.
∎ The last two first halves on offense sure have been fun for Notre Dame (8-3). Starting slowly certainly hasn’t been an issue for that group.
Building off the previous week’s 35 first-half points — scoring touchdowns on five of six possessions — Notre Dame offensive coordinator Tommy Rees and his group were even better Saturday against Boston College.
Notre Dame opened with its foot firmly on the accelerator and it seldom let up. The Irish had the ball seven times. It scored seven times — four touchdowns and three Blake Grupe field goals. Just as was the case against Navy early, Notre Dame was going to do something to find the end zone each time it had the ball. You could feel it. You could see it.
As tough as quarterback Drew Pyne made it all look in the second half against Navy, he made Saturday’s first two quarters look easy. Way easy. Hand the ball off. Throw the ball to open receivers. Move the chains. Get in the end zone.
Notre Dame racked up 336 yards of offense with 16 first downs. Hard to be better than what the Irish were those first 30. By halftime, it was Notre Dame 37, Boston College 0. Running clock anyone? It sure was needed for this one.
∎ He wasn’t the jewel of the 2022 recruiting class. He wasn’t an early enrollee who had a chance to make an immediate impression when he was supposed to still be in high school. He didn’t arrive on campus in August and step immediately into a starting spot.
But no Irish freshman has had a better season to date than cornerback Benjamin Morrison. Heading into 2022, the freshman who was supposed to be a standout was wide receiver Tobias Merriweather or running back Jadarian Price (before his Achilles injury). Defensively, it was supposed to be Jayden Mickey. Nobody thought that highly of Morrison, but he’s been the best of the bunch.
Morrison took an additional step toward freshman All-American honors Saturday with three interceptions in the first three quarters. He became the first Irish with three interceptions in a game since former safety Harrison Smith did it in the 2010 Sun Bowl.
If there’s a play to be made (see Clemson) Morrison’s going to make it. Ironic that Morrison made all those plays on Senior Day 2022. His career continues on its current track, he’s not going to be around for his Senior Day in 2025. He’s going to be playing on Sundays.
∎ It bears repeating because it’s the last time we get a chance to highlight it this season, but yes, the Atlantic Coast Conference is still really bad at football, at least when it comes to playing Notre Dame.
Saturday was consecutive victory No. 28 for Notre Dame against ACC schools. Saturday was game No. 4 this year against an ACC school. The Irish scored 45 points against North Carolina, 41 against Syracuse, 35 against Clemson, then went for 44 through three quarters against Boston College.
When will anyone from the ACC at least give Notre Dame a game? The answer to that is 2023, when the Irish will have to go to Death Valley for the rematch with the Tigers. That’s one of six games next season against the ACC. Hopefully, they’ll be competitive.
Dear Notre Dame: Don't ever join the ACC. Signed, everyone.
Both teams wore decals on the backs of their helmets in remembrance of the three Virginia football players who were shot and killed in a campus garage on the Charlottesville campus on Sunday. The decal included an orange V and Cavalier sabers.
Virginia canceled its home finale Saturday against Coastal Carolina.
Cold? What cold? Tailback Logan Diggs came out on fire Saturday, rushing for 51 yards on the first play from scrimmage. It was a big helping of Diggs early — Diggs left, Diggs right, Diggs up the middle, Diggs into the end zone.
The game wasn’t even a quarter old, and Diggs already had 75 rushing yards on seven carries and one catch for 28. By halftime, he’d rushed for 113 yards, his third career 100-yard game and third in the last five games.
Everybody who chose to tailgate pre-game or sit outside and watch this one. They must really like their football. The air temperature at kickoff was 27 degrees, 15 wind chill. Snow and cold and wind not the best of combinations to get comfortable in the stands.
The second-half whiteout was fun to look at from the ninth-floor press box, but probably not fun to sit through down below. The empty sections in the second half seconded that (cold) emotion.
By the numbers
∎ 1: Senior wide receiver Matt Salerno made his first career touchdown catch, a 1-yarder from Pyne in the first quarter to make it 17-0.
∎ 3: Irish ruled out before kickoff – safety Brandon Joseph, Merriweather and defensive lineman Jayson Ademilola. Joseph and Merriweather missed last week’s game against Navy with injuries — Joseph with an ankle sprain, Merriweather a concussion. There was no immediate word on why Ademilola didn’t play. NBC said during the broadcast it was concussion protocol.
∎ 6: Number of Irish receivers to catch a pass in the first half.
∎ 19: Saturday was consecutive November win No. 19 for Notre Dame, which hasn’t lost a football game in the calendar’s 11th month since that 2017 debacle at Miami (Fla.). Also the last time the Irish have lost an ACC game.
∎ 25: The final tackle of a lopsided first half belonged to vyper defensive end Isaiah Foskey, who dropped Boston College quarterback Emmett Morehead for an 11-yard loss. It was career sack No. 25 for Foskey, a school record.
∎ 51: Yards gained by Diggs on the first Irish play from scrimmage, a big gainer but three yards shy of the longest play of the year – set on the first play of the year at Ohio State (Tyler Buchner to Lorenzo Styles).
∎ 168: Total yards racked up by Notre Dame on its first three drives with an average of 9.3 yards per play. At that point, Boston College had countered with … seven.
The regular-season finale against rival Southern California, which will be played in Los Angeles for the first time since 2018. Notre Dame has won four straight and five of the last six in the series. The seventh-ranked Trojans were 9-1 heading into Saturday’s game at UCLA.
Follow South Bend Tribune and NDInsider columnist Tom Noie on Twitter: @tnoieNDI. Contact: (574) 235-6153.