Nov. 11, 2000
By TOM COYNE Associated Press Writer
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) – This time it was No. 11 Notre Dame tearing up the turf, only in a more traditional manner.
Tony Fisher ran for a career-high 196 yards and two touchdowns to lead No. 11 Notre Dame to a 28-16 victory over Boston College on Saturday. The Irish (7-2) rushed for a season-high 380 yards as they avenged last year’s loss to the Eagles (6-4), a win in which some Boston College players celebrated by ripping up the turf and holding it up to the fans, then bringing it in to the locker room.
It was a celebration that the Irish didn’t forget. They talked about it all week and again after the win Saturday.
“Any time someone comes in your stadium and there’s a big chunk of your stadium missing the next day and there’s pictures of a guy holding it up, I don’t think we had to say much,” coach Bob Davie said. “It was an emotional game for us.”
“Especially after last year with what they did with our turf and the way they handled the win,” safety Tony Driver added.
The photo showed defensive lineman Chris Hovan, now with the Minnesota Vikings, holding up a chunk of turf.
Notre Dame used some imaginative play calling against BC, getting a first down on a fake punt and kicker Nick Setta ran for a 5-yard touchdown on a fake field goal. But it was dominant line play and solid running that was the key as the Irish won their fifth straight. The Irish had only one complete pass on their four scoring drives.
“We felt like going in they’ve got a bunch of young kids playing up front and we thought we could block them,” Irish offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers said. “I thought we dominated them up front. We were knocking them back really with base plays.”
BC coach Tom O’Brien agreed.
“They were running over us,” he said. “Their big strong guys just beat our little guys up front. That was the bottom line.”
The Irish, who lost their last four games last season to finish with their first losing season in 13 years, is likely to play in a Bowl Championship Series game – the Fiesta or Sugar bowls – if they win out against Rutgers and USC.
The Eagles, already bowl eligible, close out their season game against No. 2 Miami in two weeks.
Notre Dame led 28-10 entering the fourth quarter, just as they were in their previous game when Air Force scored 18 unanswered points to force overtime. Boston College drove 94 yards for a score on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Brian St. Pierre to Dedrick Dewalt. St. Pierre’s 2-point conversion pass fell incomplete.
But the Irish offense, which had gone three-and-out on five of their six drives the previous two games, put together an eight-play, 36-yard drive that ate up 4:20. The Eagles had one last shot to score, but safety Ron Israel picked off a pass at the Notre Dame 22 to clinch the victory.
“I didn’t want to get in a situation where I had to see another onside kick,” Davie said.
Boston College had 117 yards total offense in the fourth quarter, the fifth straight opponent to gain more than 100 yards in the fourth quarter against the Irish. Terrance Howard added 84 yards on 18 carries.
Despite losing leading rusher Julius Jones with a bruised thigh late in the first quarter, the Irish had their best rushing game since running for 386 yards in a 48-13 win over Kansas in the opening game last season.
Jones scored on a 1-yard run in the first quarter, Fisher ran untouched for a 37-yard touchdown in the second quarter, Fisher added a 1-yard run in the third quarter.
“I was just able to read the cutback on the 37 yard run and fortunately I was able to outrun the safety,” Fisher said. “It was all about us going out there and establishing the running game. We didn’t have to pass much today.”
Matt LoVecchio was 9-of-12 for 86 yards and had 10 rushes for 73 yards.
Boston College lost Sean Guthrie, who leads the Eagles with six sacks, with a sprained knee early in the second quarter.
St. Pierre, making his second career start with Tim Hasselbeck out with a sprained knee, was 15-of-29 passing for 296 yards with two interceptions, including an interception on the first drive that set up Notre Dame’s first score. St. Pierre was sacked twice in the first quarter. He had a 4-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Utzler in the third quarter and a 20-yard TD pass to Dedrick Dewalt with 5:40 left.