Scores

Final

Boston College 14

(3-8, 2-5 ACC)

(24) Notre Dame 16

(8-3)

Coverage: NBC

4:00 PM ET, November 19, 2011

Notre Dame Stadium, Notre Dame, IN

1 2 3 4 T
BC 0 7 0 714
#24ND 10 3 0 316

Top Performers

Passing: C. Rettig (BC) - 176 YDS, 1 TD

Rushing: J. Gray (ND) - 11 CAR, 61 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: M. Floyd (ND) - 10 REC, 92 YDS

Notre Dame holds on to get past Boston College

Associated Press

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Ugly, grind-'em-out victories count just the same as a rout.

Saddled with awful field position all afternoon, Notre Dame (No. 24 AP) needed to recover an onside kick with about 2 minutes left and then stifle a last-gasp flurry of laterals to hold off Boston College 16-14 on Saturday. The victory, rough as it may have been, was the fourth in a row for the Irish (8-3), who have matched last year's victory total and won eight of nine after beginning the year 0-2.

"Winning is hard in college football," said Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, whose teams have won 15 straight games in November. "I just like the way our guys now understand how to win games. In November, it's hard to win unless you've got a great mental outlook, and our guys do. They have overcome so many injuries late, and they keep battling."

Jonas Gray continued his breakout year, rushing for 61 yards and extending his scoring streak to eight games with a 26-yard rumble on the opening drive. But he left with what appeared to be a serious knee injury in the third quarter and will have more tests Sunday. David Ruffer kicked field goals of 40, 41 and 27 yards for Notre Dame, which has won three straight against Boston College (3-8) after losing six in a row.

The Eagles struggled to get anything going offensively for most of the second half, with Chase Rettig throwing 10 incompletions in a row at one point. He got on track just in time to make things interesting, finding Chris Pantale for a 21-yard gain and throwing a 17-yarder to Rolandan Finch as the Eagles advanced to the Notre Dame 16 with about 3 minutes to play. A pass interference call on Zeke Motta moved Boston College to the 2 and, after a false start and an incompletion, Rettig connected with Bobby Swigert for a 7-yard score.

The Eagles went for the onside kick, but Robby Toma came up with the ball just past midfield. The Irish tried to run out the ball, but they came up eight seconds short and Ben Turk's punt went into the end zone, giving the Eagles the ball at their own 20. Rettig threw an 8-yard pass to Colin Larmond Jr., who then lateraled back to Swigert. Swigert fumbled the ball but Bobby Vardaro scooped it up before Irish linebacker Troy Niklas made the final tackle at the Boston College 14 to end the game.

"We had a lot of opportunities that we did not capitalize on," Swigert said. "We moved the ball pretty well, but we did not convert a couple of short third downs. We shot ourselves in the foot a lot."

Boston College was just 3 of 13 on third-down conversions, and came away with only Swigert's score despite advancing to the Irish 44 or beyond three times in the second half.

Eagles linebacker Luke Kuechly finished with 14 tackles, giving him 523 for his career -- one shy of the Boston College record set by Steven Boyd from 1991-94. Kuechly did set the ACC career record, which had been 516.

"I play football to win. I don't try to set any records," Kuechly said. "If we would have won, it would have been cool. But we lost."

Notre Dame looked as if it was going to have an easy afternoon when it marched 80 yards on its opening drive, with Gray shredding the Boston College defense on his 26-yard scoring run. But the Irish were hampered by poor field position all afternoon, starting five drives inside their own 10-yard line, and the offense never quite got into gear.

Boston College stopped the Irish just outside the red zone twice, and held them to a third field goal after they'd gotten to the Eagles 10. Tommy Rees was picked off around midfield on another drive and finished 24 of 39 for 256 yards.

Michael Floyd had 10 catches for 92 yards in his final game at Notre Dame Stadium, including a nifty 18-yard reverse in the fourth quarter. But he dropped what almost certainly would have been a touchdown five plays later. He also had an open field on Notre Dame's second drive but couldn't catch up to Rees' pass.

Cierre Wood had 94 yards for Notre Dame, giving him 1,001 for the season.

"It's a win," Rees said. "It wasn't pretty. It wasn't, at times, the most successful offense we've had, obviously. Anytime you can get a win this late in November, you'll take it."

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Team Stat Comparison

 
BC
ND
1st Downs1421
Total Yards250417
Passing170256
Rushing80161
Penalties6-556-65
3rd Down Conversions3-138-19
4th Down Conversions0-10-0
Turnovers01
Possession26:3933:21

Passing Leaders

Boston CollegeC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Rettig18/381704.510
Notre DameC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Rees24/392566.601

Rushing Leaders

Boston CollegeCARYDSAVGTDLG
Kimble10424.207
Finch6325.3016
Notre DameCARYDSAVGTDLG
Wood26943.609
Gray11615.5126

Receiving Leaders

Boston CollegeRECYDSAVGTDLG
Pantale56012.0021
Swigert5397.8119
Notre DameRECYDSAVGTDLG
Floyd10929.2018
Toma56513.0027

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERBCND
TD12:38Jonas Gray 26 Yd Run (David Ruffer Kick) 07
FG08:15David Ruffer 40 Yd 010
SECOND QUARTERBCND
TD03:04Josh Bordner 2 Yd Run (Nate Freese Kick) 710
FG01:19David Ruffer 41 Yd 713
FOURTH QUARTERBCND
FG08:08David Ruffer 27 Yd 716
TD01:57Bobby Swigert 7 Yd Pass From Chase Rettig (Nate Freese Kick) 1416