NOTRE DAME, Ind. — A sleepy first half gave way to an explosive second Saturday as No. 16 Notre Dame defeated Boston College 40-7 at Notre Dame Stadium on Senior Day.
The Irish accounted for 501 total yards to the Eagles’ 191 turning in a balanced offensive performance by the time it was over.
Quarterback Ian Book went 26-for-40 for 239 yards and three touchdowns. Tight end Cole Kmet led all receivers with seven catches for 78 yards and a score, while wide receivers Chris Finke (seven receptions, 71 yards) and Chase Claypool (seven receptions, 60 yards) also snared touchdown catches.
The Irish also rushed for 252 yards, highlighted by a 61-yard touchdown run by Braden Lenzy. Jonathan Doerer accounted for four field goals, tied for seventh-most in a single game in program history.
Linebacker Asmar Bilal led the defense with eight tackles, including one for loss, and a pass break-up. Safety Alohi Gilman registered seven tackles and his first career sack, while defensive end Khalid Kareem accounted for six tackles, a sack, a TFL and a forced fumble. Safety Kyle Hamilton snatched his fourth career interception and also recorded a pass break-up to go with three tackles.
How It Happened
Doerer’s 47-yard field goal marked the first points of the game, coming on Notre Dame’s opening drive. The 3-0 score persisted until the beginning of the second quarter, when Doerer tacked on a 29-yard kick eight seconds in to make it 6-0.
The Eagles were the first to find the end zone, taking a 7-6 lead with 7:56 remaining in the second quarter. A one-yard, third-down rush by quarterback Dennis Grossel capped a 16-play, 84-yard drive.
The Irish responded on the next drive, going 75 yards in 15 plays, with Book connecting on a six-yard touchdown pass to Claypool to regain a 13-7 lead with 2:48 before halftime. With the catch, Claypool became the first Irish receiver to record at least 10 touchdown catches in a season since Will Fuller in 2015.
After stalling Boston College on the next possession, the Irish took over with 1:18 to go and made it 16-7 on Doerer’s third field goal, a 45-yard effort with one second on the clock.
Doerer continued to pad the Irish lead in the third, with his fourth field goal coming from 37 yards and extending the lead to 19-7 with 7:03 to go in the stanza.
The defense gave the Irish the ball back on the next series when Khalid Kareem’s forced fumble was recovered by Drew White on the Eagles’ 40-yard line. Six plays later, Book hit Kmet from 11 yards out for the tight end’s sixth scoring grab of the year, tying the Notre Dame record for touchdown receptions from a tight end in a season.
Another BC punt gave the Irish the ball at their own 39-yard line after a 21-yard return by Chris Finke and, one play later, Lenzy broke off a 61-yard end-around touchdown run to extend the lead to 33-7. It marked Notre Dame’s longest rushing touchdown of the season and the longest run of Lenzy’s career.
Hamilton’s fourth interception and 25-yard return at the 12:09 mark of the fourth quarter set the Irish offense up at the Boston College 12-yard line. In just 38 seconds, Book had his third touchdown pass of the day, hitting Finke on a six-yard dart to make it 40-7 in Notre Dame’s favor.
- With the win:
- Notre Dame improved to 9-2 on the season, and 16-9* all-time vs. Boston College.
- Notre Dame improved its home winning streak to 18, dating back to Sept. 9, 2017.
- Brian Kelly posted his sixth career win over the Eagles.
- The Irish improved to 14-1 in regular-season games against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents over the last three seasons.
- Over the last 37 games, the Irish are 31-6, their best record over a 37-game span since 1991-93, when Notre Dame went 31-5-1.
- With another scoreless first quarter from the Notre Dame defense, the Irish are allowing just 3.09 points/game in the opening stanza this season (just 2.40 points per first quarter at home). It marked the sixth first-quarter shutout by the Irish this season.
- At Notre Dame Stadium in 2019, the Irish defense has allowed only two touchdowns in the first quarter and just five in the first half. In total, Notre Dame’s defense has faced 47 first-half drives.
- Notre Dame’s offense traveled 501 yards on the day, and the Irish defense held the Eagles to 191 offensive yards.
- In the first half, the Irish held the Eagles to 61 passing yards, as opposed to Notre Dame’s 167. In total, Notre Dame racked up 253 offensive yards to Boston College’s 127.
- QB Ian Book completed 26-of-40 passes for 239 yards and three touchdowns while leading the Irish in rushing (12 carries for 66 yards).
- TE Cole Kmet tied the Notre Dame record for touchdown receptions in a season (six) by a tight end with his 11-yard scoring catch in the third quarter. Ken McAfee is the only other Notre Dame tight end to reach six touchdowns in a single season (1997).
- Kmet became the 10th tight end in Irish history to have 400 or more yards in a season (first since Troy Niklas in 2013).
- WR Chase Claypool notched his 10th touchdown reception of the season on a six-yard pass from QB Ian Book, a figure which ties Golden Tate (2008) for 10th-most in a season by an Irish receiver.
- Claypool has now totaled 16 career touchdown catches, which ties for 10th all-time among Notre Dame receivers with Jim Seymour (1966-68).
- K Jonathan Doerer kicked a 47-yard field goal (his second-longest of the season) to notch the first points of the game on Notre Dame’s opening drive. He also made field goals of 45, 37 and 29 yards. On the season, Doerer has compiled a 85.7 FG-make percentage(12-14), the fourth-best by an Irish kicker in a single season since 1996.
- With his four field goals, Doerer ties for seventh-most by an Irish kicker in a single game
- DE Ade Ogundeji posted a key strip-sack on third down with 1:27 remaining in the first half. It was his first sack of the season, and he added another in the third quarter.
- DE Khalid Kareem forced his third fumble of the season (fourth of his career) in the third quarter. It was recovered by LB Drew White, who recorded his second recovery of the season and his career. Kareem also registered a sack in the final minute of the third quarter.
- WR Braden Lenzy scored on a 61-yard rush, the longest rushing touchdown (and longest rushing play) of the season for Notre Dame (previously 51). It also marked Lenzy’s fourth touchdown of the season (two rushing, two receiving).
- WR Chris Finke caught his fourth touchdown pass of the season in the fourth quarter. He posted five receptions in the first half, matching his season-high. He totaled seven receptions (matches career high) for 71 yards (season high) and a touchdown on the game (previous high was 57 yards vs. Navy).
- DB Kyle Hamilton recorded his fourth interception of the season in the fourth quarter to set up an Irish touchdown drive. He leads the Notre Dame defense in interceptions, and is one of two true freshman in the FBS to total four interceptions on the season (LSU’s Derek Stingley Jr.).
- S Alohi Gilman posted his first career sack on the Eagles’ opening drive, forcing a three-and-out.