FOOTBALL: Once Again, Third-Down Troubles Lead To Loss
Published: Monday, November 12, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
It was the same story yet again for Boston College as it was downed 21-6 by undefeated rival No. 4 Notre Dame at Alumni Stadium on Saturday night.
It was another loss, another night of giving up third down conversions, even more injuries, and a few individual positives.
The Irish offense came into the game averaging just under 27 points per game, and the BC defense did its job in keeping them under that total.
Notre Dame converted 11 of 14 third downs, however, at one point even converting 10 for 10.
Quarterback Everett Golson was the highlight of this Notre Dame offense, which gave the Eagles’ defense a headache on third down. His athleticism continually allowed him to rush past the initial line of the BC defense in order to advance past the first down marker, and his passing accuracy rarely let him down when it came down to the wire.
Golson almost always ended up with the ball when the Irish were on third down, and his comfort both rushing and passing continued to lead his team on drives.
He ended the night with 200 yards passing, two touchdowns, and 39 yards rushing, including one touchdown on the run.
“Whenever you are facing a national-caliber team, you know that they are going to execute,” said linebacker Steele Divitto. “That is something that we have struggled with this year. We get them at third and long and we can’t get them off the field. That is something that we need to work on and continue to build on. The reason we won the Maryland game was because we got them off the field on third down, and today we couldn’t do that until later in the game, but it was already too late.”
Head coach Frank Spaziani credited Notre Dame, but also his own team’s lack of execution.
“Some of it was our execution and some of it was their execution,” Spaziani said. “Some of it was their improvisation. We’ve got to make some plays, and when we get the opportunity, we have to make our share of them.”
Deuce Finch returned to the field for the first time since his goal-line fumble against Northwestern. Finch had been in Spaziani’s doghouse since that road trip, and made the most of his action on Saturday.
Against the Irish, Finch got seven carries and broke off two solid gains. At least for a couple moments, he looked like his old self.
“I saw the Deuce that I like to see,” Spaziani said of Finch’s performance.
Finch finished with 40 yards, averaging 5.7 yards per carry against the Irish defense.
Spaziani discussed Finch’s play on Sunday after watching the tape.
“Deuce did what Deuce is supposed to do,” Spaziani said. “He looked like the guy that we were familiar with at the beginning of the year. Once again, he has to practice and continue doing what he did to get him where he got to last night, and then his role will certainly increase.
“Once again, there’s certain things you have to do. We just can’t project him into a more active role until he demonstrates that he has earned it, and he certainly stepped up and looked like a good back [Saturday] night.”
The Eagles also sustained two key injuries to receiver Bobby Swigert and linebacker Nick Clancy.
Swigert had 23 yards receiving and nine yards rushing before he hobbled off of the field. He went into the locker room on crutches, and appeared to have an injury to the right knee.
“The preliminary was not very good,” Spaziani said of Swigert.
Clancy, on the other hand, received a concussion according to Spaziani, ruling him out of the game.
This adds trouble to the linebacker position, as Kevin Pierre Louis has missed two straight games due to an injury as well.
Clancy led the team in tackles prior to the game, with 107 this season.
Sophomore Sean Duggan and freshmen Steven Daniels and Tim Joy had to fill in the gaps left by the more senior linebackers.