Commentary

Gunnell has choice words for Clausen

BC receiver still angry after career day

Updated: October 25, 2009, 12:49 AM ET
By Nick Friedell | ESPNChicago.com

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The trash talking at Notre Dame Stadium reached a fever pitch as soon as the Fighting Irish wrapped up their 20-16 victory over Boston College. Players were getting into each other's faces. Curses were being flung everywhere. The emotion that had been brewing throughout the hard-fought game finally boiled over.

This was most evident near the Eagles' sideline. BC wide receiver Rich Gunnell, who had a career day by racking up 179 yards and a touchdown, was about to be interviewed on the field. That's when Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen came over, apparently to congratulate him.

Gunnell wasn't having any of it. The fifth-year senior started jawing back and forth with Clausen. For a second, it seemed a brawl might erupt right there.

So, what happened? Here's Gunnell's version:

"In the beginning of the game, we were warming up, running on the field and [Clausen's] out there chirping and talking all this trash and he pushed, I think, Justin Jarvis. He just pushed him for no reason, and I just looked at him like, 'What are you doing? Who do you think you are?'

"He's just sitting there still talking and then afterward, he was trying to be all friendly. I was like, 'I don't want to hear it now.'

"It just rubbed me the wrong way. I didn't like what he did. It just seemed like he was a little fake toward the end of the game because they won. I know if it was the other end of the stick, he'd probably be saying the same thing to me."

Clausen told the media after the game that he was just trying to tell Gunnell that he was a heck of a receiver. "I was just trying to say 'good game' to him," Clausen said.

Gunnell agreed with that part of the story, but wasn't buying what Clausen was selling. "After the game he just tried to say, 'good game,' this and that," the receiver said. "And I thought it was phony."

Best day ever -- sort of
Asked if Saturday's was the best game he's ever played, Gunnell said, "I think so. But it doesn't mean anything if we don't get that W at the end. I can't say it's the best game I've played if we didn't win."

Declaration day
BC coach Frank Spaziani was duly impressed with Clausen's performance on the field (26-for-39, 246 yards, 2 TDs). He had a little advice for the junior after the game. "I'm encouraging Jimmy to come out [for the NFL draft]," Spaziani said, trying to hold back a smile. "I think that would be a good move for him."

Wildcat meets Boomcat
BC's Marcellus "Boomcat" Bowman stuffed Robert Hughes on fourth-and-goal inside the 1-yard line with 11:49 left in the fourth quarter and the Eagles still holding a 16-13 lead. "They were in the Wildcat formation so I really wasn't too worried about the pass," Bowman said. "So I read my keys and I saw the hole open up and I saw [Hughes] try to go for it, so I just ran as fast as I can to make some contact."

Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

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