‘Holy War’: Notre Dame pulls away late to blow out Boston College

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The Josh Adams-led Notre Dame ground game is so potent, it should travel well to Miami. | Michael Dwyer/AP

BOSTON — Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush had already scored from 1, 2, and 3 yards out when he broke loose for a 65-yard touchdown to help ice the game.

Josh Adams had 64- and 65-yard runs of his own.

“Big plays, you don’t look for them,” Wimbush said after helping Notre Dame bounce back from its fall from the rankings by beating Boston College 49-20 on Saturday. “You do your job and the plays are there.”

Wimbush ran for four touchdowns and 207 yards, a record for a Notre Dame quarterback. Adams rushed for 229 in three quarters, the first time in the history of the illustrious program that two players have run for more than 200 yards in a game.

“The tale of the game came with their ability to run,” Boston College coach Steve Addazio said. “Those chunks are what turned the game, because it was a close game.”

For about 40 minutes it was, until Notre Dame (2-1) scored three straight touchdowns to turn a 14-13 game into a blowout and beat BC (1-2) for the sixth straight time.

After stopping the Eagles on a fourth-and-1, Wimbush broke loose for a 46-yard run to set up one touchdown. The Irish scored twice more before BC was able to respond, one set up by Adams’ 33-yard scamper and the other on Wimbush’s 65-yard TD.

“We didn’t make a lot of plays in the first half,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. “We came in at halftime and went up to the offensive line and said, ‘Look, we need you to take over this football game. You’re our veteran group.’ And they really responded.”

In the matchup of the only two Catholic schools in FBS — a rivalry known as the “Holy War” — the Irish ran for 515 yards on 51 carries. Wimbush completed 11 of 24 passes for 96 yards, with one interception.

“You’ve just got to find a way to find something that’s working for you,” he said. “And it happened to be my feet during this game.”

The takeaway

Notre Dame: The one-point loss to then-No. 15 Georgia last week wasn’t devastating, but a loss to a Boston College team that was blown out by Wake Forest last week might have been. Coach Brian Kelly’s job is safe for another week.

Boston College: The hype of the rivalry helped BC stay close for almost 40 minutes, and the Eagles even had a chance to take the lead late in the third quarter. But they were really just killing time before the next Notre Dame big play.

Arms and legs

Asked about his stats in the game, Wimbush’s face went sour.

“Under a hundred yards throwing and you’re a quarterback? It’s not ideal,” he said. “As a quarterback, that’s the first thing you do, right? So it troubles me a little bit. But I’m going to enjoy the win for the first 24 hours and then make adjustments.”

The records

Wimbush’s 207 rushing yards was the most ever for a Notre Dame quarterback, breaking the record set by Bill Etter against Navy in 1969. The 10.1 yards per rush was also a record for the Fighting Irish; the old mark of 10.0 had stood since 1942 (250 yards on 25 carries against Great Lakes).

Loose ends

BC’s Anthony Brown connected with Charlie Callinan on two touchdowns. In all, Brown was 24 of 40 for 215 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. . . . Dexter Williams scored Notre Dame’s last two touchdowns, from 3 and 15 yards out. . . . Shaun Crawford had both interceptions for the Irish. . . . BC defensive back Isaac Yiadom chased down Adams on his 65- and 64-yard runs, tackling him at the 2 and the 17, respectively.

Up next

Notre Dame: at Michigan State on Saturday.

Boston College: at No. 3 Clemson on Saturday.

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