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Boston College vs. Notre Dame Prediction: Fighting Irish Aim for Fifth Straight Win

Irish have won eight in a row over the Eagles, going back to 2009.

The Boston College Eagles look to build on their first win in more than a month when they head west to Notre Dame Stadium in the Fighting Irish's final home game of 2022. The return home will be a warm welcome for Notre Dame in an otherwise frigid weekend: the Fighting Irish have posted a winning record at home in five straight seasons and in 13 of their last 14. They can add to both streaks on Saturday with a victory.

Related: College Football Predictions for Every Game in Week 12

Boston College (3-7) lost three of its first four games of the season, and both of the Eagles' next two wins — at home against Louisville and at NC State — have come by a single point. Close games have been the main theme as of late, with Boston College losing a pair of games by 10 or fewer points before the one-point win at NC State last week. That victory came thanks to a rebound from a 17-7 halftime deficit, capped off by the game-winning touchdown pass from Emmett Morehead to Joseph Griffin Jr. with just 14 seconds remaining in regulation.

The Fighting Irish's Week 11 win — their fourth in as many weeks — was similarly close, as Notre Dame secured a three-point victory over Navy… though the sequencing was largely in the opposite direction. Notre Dame (7-3) found the end zone on its first three drives and five of six in the first half, the last of which came on the heels of Notre Dame's FBS-leading and school-record seventh blocked punt of the season, the most by any team since 2012. But Navy responded to a 35-13 halftime deficit with 19 straight points while keeping the Irish scoreless in the third and fourth quarters. However, the Midshipmen were unable to complete the comeback as wide receiver Matt Salerno secured the last-ditch onside kick to seal the 35-32 win.

Notre Dame has won each of the last eight meetings with Boston College dating back to 2009, most recently a 45-31 victory in 2020 as part of the Fighting Irish's perfect 10-0 regular season. That winning streak has propelled Notre Dame to a 17-9 all-time lead in the series after Boston College had drawn even thanks to six straight wins from 2001 to '08.

Boston College at No. 18 Notre Dame

Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 19 at 2:30 p.m. ET
TV: NBC/Peacock
Spread: Notre Dame -21
Tickets: As low as $49 on SITickets.com

When Boston College Has the Ball

The Eagles' season-high point total came in a 34-33 Week 5 win over Louisville, but the offense has since hit a rough patch. Boston College has collected just 73 total points over its last five games — with 31 of those coming in a Week 10 loss to Duke — while twice being held to just three points.

That loss to Duke came with starting quarterback Phil Jurkovec sidelined after suffering a knee injury during the loss at UConn. Jurkovec — who transferred to Boston College after two seasons at Notre Dame — also missed last week's win at NC State, when Morehead led the Eagles to the comeback win. Jurkovec remains questionable for this game, so Morehead could get another start. Jurkovec averaged just under 214 passing yards per game leading up to the injury, with 12 touchdowns (11 passing, one rushing) while Morehead has thrown for seven touchdowns (and three interceptions) in the two games he's started in Jurkovec's place.

Regardless of who starts under center for Boston College, Zay Flowers will almost certainly be one of the primary targets. Flowers leads the ACC with 921 receiving yards this season and trails only North Carolina's Josh Downs for the conference lead in touchdowns (10; Downs: 11) and receptions (67; Downs: 74). The run game has been a much greater struggle for Boston College, however, as the Eagles have averaged just 61.4 rushing yards per game in 2022, the lowest mark in the nation. Boston College is averaging just 2.11 yards per carry, which is half of the national average (4.23) entering Week 12. Some of this is due to the fact that the Eagles are giving up nearly four sacks per game (39 total), the most in the ACC and a number that's surpassed by just three other FBS programs.

Notre Dame's defense has been able to limit opposing offenses despite having collected just eight takeaways all season. That's thanks in large part to posting 29 sacks, with 8.5 coming from defensive lineman Isaiah Foskey and 2.5 apiece from Justin and Jayson Ademilola. And when opposing quarterbacks have avoided going down behind the line of scrimmage, Notre Dame has allowed just under 194 passing yards per game, a top-30 mark in the FBS.

When Notre Dame Has the Ball

In the win over Navy, the Irish reached their fourth straight game with at least 35 points, just the 10th season in school history (134 years) that Notre Dame has achieved such a streak. The last time the team did this five games in a row was way back in 1943.

Quarterback Drew Pyne was instrumental in the win over Navy, playing arguably his best game of the season. Pyne accounted for all five of Notre Dame's touchdowns against the Midshipmen, throwing a season-high four with one on the ground. It also was his most efficient passing performance (17-of-21) for 269 yards, his second-highest total of this season. Pyne spread his scoring strikes around with running backs Audric Estime and Chris Tyree, as well as wide receivers Braden Lenzy and Jayden Thomas each reeling one in.

Another key target to watch is tight end Michael Mayer, who was announced this week as a semifinalist for the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, which is given to the best player, regardless of position, in college football. Mayer is Notre Dame's leading receiver in the three main categories (54 rec., 647 yds., 7 TDs), and he's also the program's all-time leader, both season and career, among tight ends.

Boston College has done a decent job against the pass, giving up 209 yards per game through the air, but hasn't had as much success in preventing damage on the scoreboard. Five of the Eagles' last seven opponents have scored 30 or more points.

Final Analysis

Notre Dame has now won four in a row and finds itself No. 18 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings. Boston College also comes in with some momentum after last week's road upset of NC State and scoring 52 points over its last two games. But the Fighting Irish have home-field advantage and much more to play for. Look for Notre Dame to return to form on Saturday as it gets ready for the showdown with USC in Los Angeles next weekend.

Prediction: Notre Dame 38, Boston College 20

Podcast: Week 12 Preview, Predictions, and Picks Against the Spread + Reaction to CFB Playoff Top 25 Rankings

— Written by Juan Jose Rodriguez, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a 2019 graduate of the University of Notre Dame. Rodriguez was an intern for Athlon during summer 2017 and worked for a variety of media outlets on campus, including as the editor-in-chief of Scholastic Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @JuanJoseRG02.

*Price as of publication.