Irish Get Revenge, Stay in Major Bowl Contention With 20-10 Victory Over Boston College
By MIKE NORBUT
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Weeks from now, no one will be able to recall one specific play that put Notre Dame on its way to a 20-10 win over Boston College Saturday.
But there will be plenty of reasons to remember the game’s significance.
“I don’t have a ring on my finger because of them,” offensive guard Ryan Leahy said, alluding to the Eagles 41-39 upset win in 1993. “It feels great to beat a team which made such a big deal out of beating us.”
In addition to the revenge factor, the Irish needed to win to stay in the hunt for a major bowl game. At 7-2 and with two service academies left to play, they look to be in the driver’s seat.
With all of this to play for, it was easy to see the emotion flowing out of the Irish players. You needed a magnifying glass to find the flair.
Flair wasn’t in the Notre Dame game plan, though.
The Irish simply brought their lunch boxes to Notre Dame Stadium Saturday, methodically pulling out fullback dive after fullback dive until the Eagles were sick to their stomachs.
“With the nature of their stunts, they’re death on tailbacks,” Irish coach Lou Holtz said. “We felt this was the type of defense where the fullback could have a game.”
Marc Edwards had, quite possibly, the game of his life. The fullback gained 167 yards on 28 carries and scored two touchdowns. He had seven straight carries on Notre Dame’s final scoring drive, which took up almost 10 minutes of the fourth quarter.
“I kind of noticed on the last drive I was carrying the ball a lot,” Edwards said. “I was tired, but I knew the guys in front of me were tired too.”
His 167 yards was the best performance by an Irish back since Lee Becton’s 177 yards against USC in 1993.
“Our offensive line was phenomenal,” Edwards continued. “The fullback dive was working, and they executed their blocks very well.”
The final drive, which culminated in a Scott Cengia 26-yard field goal, was sparked by a Lyron Cobbins interception on Notre Dame’s own 2-yard line.
“We stopped the big plays, and we created big plays of our own,” said Cobbins, who now has three interceptions in the past two games. “That’s the philosophy we live by.”
It’s a kind of corollary to the “Bend but Don’t Break” philosophy, which the defense has thrived on this year. Recently, however, it’s been working. Opponents have had trouble scoring in the red zone in the past few weeks.
“Everytime they’d start to threaten, we’d make the big plays,” outside linebacker Bert Berry said. “It was very satisfying for us.”
Just like their final scoring chance, the Eagles’ first possession of the game took them down to Notre Dame’s 20, but Mark Hartsell was intercepted by LaRon Moore to erase the threat.
The pick momentarily protected a 7-0 Irish lead, a lead they took on the first five plays of the game. Ron Powlus, who passed only 10 times on the day, hit Edwards on a screen pass, and watched him ramble 17 yards for the score.
The Eagles rallied to tie the game in the second quarter on an Omari Walker 2-yard run, which capped an epic drive of their own. Cengia’s first field goal, a 22-yard effort, gave the lead back to the Irish with just over a minute to play in the first half. They went into the locker room with a 10-7 advantage, one which they would never again lose.
It was an unexpected chain of events following Notre Dame’s cakewalk on their first possession. But it wasn’t unexpected to Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz.
“I felt it was going to be a heckuva ball game,” he said. “We knew it would be a hard fought football game. We knew it would go down to the wire.”
The Irish took a commanding lead in the third quarter on an Edwards plunge from two yards out. The 13-play drive had just three passes, the most in any single Irish drive all game.
Notre Dame finished with 318 total yards, including 247 on the ground.
“We don’t get anything cheap,” Holtz said. “Everything we get we have to earn. But then again, that’s not that bad either.”
At Notre Dame StadiumOctober 28, 1995Attendance: 59,075Boston College 0 7 3 0 - 10 Notre Dame (12) 7 3 7 3 - 20 ND--Edwards 17 pass from Powlus (Cengia kick) BC--O. Walker 2 run (McGuire kick) ND--FG Cengia 22 ND--Edwards 2 run (Cengia kick) BC--FG McGuire 41 ND--FG Cengia 26 BC ND First downs 17 21 Rushes-yards 37-154 55-247 Passing yards 149 71 Sacked-yards lost 1-7 2-14 Return yards 18 17 Comp.-Att.-Int. 15-25-2 6-10-0 Punts 1-28.0 2-42.0 Fumbles-lost 0-0 2-1 Penalties-yards 5-40 2-11 Time of possession 27:43 32:17 RUSHING:Boston College-J. Smith 25-97, O. Walker 8-30, Watson 1-17, Hartsell 2-9, Cloud 1-1.Notre Dame-Edwards 28-167, Kinder 9-38, A. Denson 10-32, Mosley 1-7, Powlus 7-3. PASSING:Boston College-Hartsell 15-25-2-149.Notre Dame-Powlus 6-10-0-71. RECEIVING:Boston College-Everson 3-38, Watson 3-21, Harding 2-26, O. Walker 2-15, Pollack 2-13, Dragos 2-12, Grice 1-24.Notre Dame-Stafford 1-22, Edwards 1-17, Mayes 1-16, Chryplewicz 1-16, Kinder 1-4, R. Farmer 1-minus 4.