Eagles Edged by Irish, 20-16
Oct. 24, 2009
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP)--Golden Tate caught 11 passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns to lead Notre Dame to a 20-16 victory over Boston College on Saturday, ending a six-game losing streak to the Eagles.
Notre Dame (5-2) came up with three interceptions in the second half, the final one with 98 seconds left. The last five games the Fighting Irish had played were decided in the final minute.
The Eagles (4-3) repeatedly burned the Notre Dame defense as Dave Shinskie threw for a season-high 279 yards and a touchdown, but the Irish came up with big plays, including two interceptions by Kyle McCarthy. BC had five turnovers, while the Irish had none.
Jimmy Clausen was 26 of 39 passing for 246 yards for Notre Dame.
It appeared for a while the 25-year-old Shinskie would become the third freshman quarterback to beat the Irish this season, joining Michigan's Tate Forcier and USC's Matt Barkley. While the BC running game struggled again on the road, finishing with 70 yards on 29 carries, Shinskie repeatedly found open receivers. BC looked much better than the team that came into the game with the nation's 106th ranked passing offense, averaging 171 yards a game.
Notre Dame coaches talked during the week about the need for the Irish to cutdown on the number of big plays they had been giving up, especially against the pass. Shinskie threw 10 passes of 20 or more yards and had a 15-yard run.
BC had a chance to take control after scoring on its first possession of the first half to take a 16-13 lead, but the Irish defense came up big at key times. First the Irish forced a fumble by Montel Harris at their 1 on BC's second possession of the second half. It was the second lost fumble by Harris, who came into the game with a streak of 356 touches without a fumble.
Then on BC's next possession, McCarthy intercepted a pass by Shinskie at the Notre Dame 23.
McCarthy came up with another interception at the Notre Dame 26 with 4:23 left, that could have sealed the win. But the Irish offense went three-and-out and BC got the ball back at its own 32. On fourth-and-16, Shinskie completed a 28-yard pass to Rich Gunnell, who had 10 catches for 179 yards. On the next play, McCarthy was called for pass interference on a pass to Justin Jarvis.
Two plays later, Irish linebacker Brian Smith made the final interception.
The BC defense contributed as well, tallying a safety in the first quarter and stopping the Irish on a fourth-and-goal from the 1 line early in the fourth quarter.
Boston College took the lead when Shinskie threw a 7-yard TD pass to Gunnell with 4:40 left in the second quarter. The Eagles had been outscored 53-0 at Clemson and at Virginia Tech in the first three quarters.