Irish hope for turnaround against rival Boston College

Updated: October 24, 2003, 6:01 PM ET

BOSTON -- Notre Dame will wear white. Boston College will wear maroon. The turf will stay where it is after the game and so will the teams -- out of the rankings while struggling for consistency and a bowl bid.

Notre Dame (2-4) is coming to Boston on Saturday, a year after BC (4-3) spoiled its unbeaten season and sent the Irish on a skid that still may not have hit bottom. It was the Eagles' second consecutive victory over Notre Dame. They have never won three straight from the Irish.

"They want to come out and try to beat us after what we did the last two years," Boston College quarterback Quinton Porter said. "We wrecked their season last year."

It hasn't been a good year for Notre Dame, and it all started with the loss to Boston College.

Tyrone Willingham was 8-0 in his first season at Notre Dame, and the Irish were ranked fourth and eyeing a national championship when Boston College visited last year. They wore green jerseys for the first time in a regular-season game in 17 years -- to fire the team up, Willingham said.

But the only ones fired up by the jerseys were the Eagles. Angry that Notre Dame was using it as a prop in its return to national prominence, Boston College won 14-7 to spoil Notre Dame's unbeaten season and destroy its hopes for a title.

"We saw the players come in blue jerseys in practice. Then they came out in the green," BC defensive lineman Mathias Kiwanuka, who grew up in Indianapolis, said this week. "It was kind of a slap in the face."

Notre Dame lost three of its last five games and started poorly this year, making the Irish 4-7 since that day. While it's hard to believe a green uniform did all that, Notre Dame is expected in its road whites this weekend just in case.

And that's not the only fashion tip being passed around the Irish locker room. Quarterback Brady Quinn, a freshman, got some advice from teammates: Keep your helmet on because a lot of stuff will be thrown at you.

Last year, there were reports of damage to the visitors' locker room after the game, and some BC players tore up chunks of the field to keep as souvenirs. Alumni Stadium in Boston has artificial turf, so unless the Irish bring power tools it's not likely they'll be able to avenge the vandalism.

"As soon as game time goes down, you see all those guys passing who gave you that much disrespect, your blood's going to boil a little bit," Notre Dame defensive tackle Darrell Campbell said. "So if you have the opportunity to take it to a guy, you're going to take it to a guy."

For just the third time in the rivalry between the nation's only Division I-A football-playing Catholic universities, neither team is ranked heading into the game. They have played for 12 consecutive years, but they won't meet again until 2007.

Those are all reasons why the game is important, but the biggest one is this: Another Notre Dame loss jeopardizes its bowl chances. With No. 6 Florida State next, a loss to BC would make every game the rest of the season a must-win.

"Can you get to a bowl game without beating Boston College?" Willingham said. "I think it puts a serious crimp in that effort."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index

SPONSORED HEADLINES

MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL HEADLINES

MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM