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2022 College Football Data Review: Notre Dame VS Boston College

The data story coming out of Notre Dame’s dominant win against Boston College.

NCAA Football: Boston College at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a great day to be an Irish football fan.

Going into Week 12’s Boston College game, the team had been hitting a series of highs (excluding the 2nd half of Navy) that I didn’t think would be topped. There wasn’t concern that things would go downhill necessarily but that we’d gotten the highest of highs out of the 2022 season.

The program proved me wrong on Saturday night, though, putting up another big win on the field that was arguably surpassed by the off the field victory. In my preview, I detailed how the ultimate outcome between the lines would be left almost solely in the hands of Notre Dame (particularly the offense). The players and staff all showed up from the first second of play with a clear and decisive path to achieve victory and throughout the game we never had to really question how things would turn out.

Through the home stretch of a rollercoaster season, I think the vast majority of us would’ve been satisfied with that game plan/victory, enjoyed a boring, conservatively played 48 minutes of football and turned our sights to the upcoming holidays and season closer against the USC Trojans.

What we got though was an Irish squad that was dead set on proving something more, something much more important for the program than the final, 44-0 shutout win.

The level of intensity that they played every snap with, footage from the sidelines as well as postgame interviews and press conference all do a great job of telling the individual growth and impact stories that are the foundations of what keeps us all so invested in this thing of Notre Dame football and college football more generally.

It was really dope to experience. I also can’t imagine that the students in the stadium, especially the seniors will forget it anytime soon. I of no other reasons than the combo of snow and marshmallows undoubtedly ruined countless pairs of their shoes.

So let’s see what we can gleam from the data about the win over the Boston College Eagles.

Scoring 180

With their 44-0 shutout of Boston College, Notre Dame continued its trend of revering scoring anemia from the beginning of the season. For the season overall, ND is averaging 31 points per game. Since the Week 8 turnaround point of the UNLV game, though, the Irish have averaged 38 points per game. They did most of their feasting in the 1st and 2nd quarters, with the snow madness significantly limiting the ability of either team to put up points in the second half.

Scoring summary from the Week 12 Notre Dame vs. BC game.
Drive summary and comparison from the Week 12 Notre Dame vs. BC game.

Rushing Dominated Game

The Irish dominated the Eagles in pretty much every key metric category. The offense accounted for 72% (437) of the game’s total yards. The success on the ground was where they really shone, taking responsibility for 83% (281) of the total rushing yards.

Key details from the Week 12 Notre Dame vs. BC game.
Total yards trend and comparison.

Somewhat Passing Parity

If there was one area of somewhat parity between the two teams, it was on the passing side of things. Notre Dame put up 156 yards through the air, compared with Boston College’s 117. Irish QB Drew Pyne completed 52% on 25 attempts. The accuracy wasn’t always there but given the weather conditions and where we’ve seen Pyne at other points in the season, you can’t help but have been really satisfied by the way he threw the ball in the first half.

Passing yards trend and comparison.
Passer comparisons from the Week 12 Notre Dame vs. BC game.

Standout Irish Rushing Performance

It was the second biggest rushing yardage game of the season for ND. The unit put up 281 yards on the ground, only beat out by the 287 yard game against UNC in Week 4.

Rushing yards trend and comparison.

In terms of total rushing utilization, it wasn’t a remarkable game for the Irish. The team had a collective 38 attempts, but averaged a crazy 7.4 yards per attempt. Compare and contrast that with the average of 1.9 yards per rush attempt last week against Navy and that season high has that much more impact.

Rushing attempts trend and comparison.
Avg. yards per rush attempt trend and comparison.

Logan Diggs had the biggest night, averaging 8.1 yard on 15 attempts and tallying up 43% (122) of the team’s overall ground yards. Audric Estime walked away with two touchdowns, and Tyree and Diggs also secured a touchdown a piece.

Rushing details for Notre Dame from the Week 12 BC game.

Modest Receiving Day

It was a really big night for Michael Mayer, mostly for off the field reasons. The tight end went into the game with his performance track record solidified already so any other contributions he made on the field are kind of just icing on the cake. He pulled in a total of 5 receptions, averaging 12.8 yards per catch. He also tallied up 41% (64) of the team’s total receiving yards.

Receiving details for Notre Dame from the Week 12 BC game.

Successful Day Moving the Ball

Even with the weather being what it was, ball movement went pretty well for the Irish. They had a total of 22 first downs and successfully converted 62% of their third down conversion attempts. This metric was only surpassed in the Week 6 win against BYU when the Irish converted 69% of their third down attempts.

First down trend and comparison.
Third down conversion (%) trend and comparison.

Lights Out Defensive Performance

It was a phenomenal night for Notre Dame’s defense. As a collective, they allowed a season low of 173 total yards. Amazing individual efforts are what really stood out during the game, though. They forced a total of 5 turnovers (2 lost fumbles and 3 interceptions). Freshman cornerback Benjamin Morrison was responsible for all three of those interceptions. When you really take in what that stat means in the context of his experience, the weather and statistical difficulty associated with interceptions, Just Wow. Isaiah Foskey and Marist Liufau both walked away with a fumble recovery a piece.

Defense (total yards allowed) trend and comparison.

Their total of 56 yards allowed on the ground was a season low and the 117 yards allowed through the air would’ve been a season low (if you take the Navy game out of the equation).

Defense (passing yards allowed) trend and comparison.
Defense (rushing yards allowed) trend and comparison.

Final Thoughts

The Boston College win sends us off into a big holiday weekend with more than enough ammo to be the obnoxious Irish fan at the family gatherings. In past years, I’d say exercise some restraint so as not to make everyone more annoyed by us than they already are. But given the ups and downs of this season, I’d say throw restraint out the window (perhaps leave the CFP off the table, though) and let them have it.

Cheers and Go Irish!!