Notre Dame-Boston College: Irish end losing streak to Eagles

EducationSportsFootballUniversity of Notre DameColleges and UniversitiesPhiladelphia EaglesRobert Hughes

Notre Dame simply will not comply with the faint of heart, flirting with oblivion on yet another Saturday, participating in yet another hair-raising, fourth-quarter finish.

And Notre Dame survived yet again, teetering on the edge of disaster before emerging with a 20-16 victory over Boston College that ended a six-game losing streak in the series.

One possession after the offense failed to convert a fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line, Jimmy Clausen zinged a pass to Golden Tate that the junior receiver turned into a 36-yard, go-ahead score with eight minutes to play. That score alone may have prevented a five-week push to secure a decent bowl berth and save Irish coach Charlie Weis' job.

That's because Boston College exploded out of the second-half gate with a 56-yard drive to a Montel Harris 2-yard score, securing a 16-13 lead. From there, Notre Dame began hanging on to its season by fingernails.

First came another Eagles drive, stopped at the Irish 1-yard line when Harris fumbled it away and Irish linebacker Brian Smith recovered.

Then came another Eagles drive, started at the Notre Dame 40-yard line after a shoddy punt, that ended with Irish safety Kyle McCarthy picking off a jump-ball.

Then came Irish tailback Robert Hughes, in on a fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line, getting stopped short with 11:19 to play -- with Clausen nowhere to be found as the Irish went with a Wildcat formation on the play with Hughes taking the direct snap.

There was one final bit of Irish heroics when Smith intercepted a Dave Shinskie pass at the Notre Dame 22 with 1 minute 44 seconds left. The Eagles has gotten the ball back with 3:22 on the clock on their own 32 and Shinskie proceeded to throw a scare into the Irish as he marched Boston College down the field on the strength of a 28-yard completion and a 15-yard pass interference penalty.

The first half was an exercise in drudgery. Clausen was flagged for intentional grounding in the end zone, resulting in a Boston College safety ... a fake field goal for a touchdown was called back on a hold ... the Irish defense allowed Eagles quarterback Shinskie 101 yards passing in the second quarter alone ... and not until the final Notre Dame drive did the Irish get into the end zone.

That was an answer to a 68-yard drive by Boston College that resulted in a Rich Gunnell 7-yard touchdown reception, providing a 9-6 lead. But Clausen led the Irish on a 74-yard drive, finishing with an 11-yard scoring toss to Golden Tate. But the 13-9 edge at the break was as uneasy as it gets.

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