With two games left in the season and a 10-0 record thus far there is still room for improvement. Notre Dame would have beaten Boston College a lot worse, but with some stalling drives, turnovers, and penalties it took at least 14 to 21 points off the board for Notre Dame. I know Boston College plays Notre Dame tough every year, but with the Irish trailing in the BCS standings, style points are needed. Beating a team 21-6 is a statement, but to some it doesn’t appear to them that way.
Penalties and Turnovers
The reason the score was remotely close was because of 8 penalties for 65 yards and 2 costly fumbles that ended drives. Notre Dame has averaged 43.4 yards per game in penalties, which is ranked 33rd overall in the FBS. Although that isn’t terrible, it should and could be much better. Coach Kelly isn’t the type of coach that takes penalties lightly either. The false starts are enough to make me go crazy every game, the holdings on big runs, it simply cannot happen. Take away half of the penalties then things are much better. I can deal with the accidental facemask, pass interference when going for the ball, but false starts, holdings, blocks in the back, roughing the passer, and substitution infractions are mental errors and can be avoided. The turnover margin was at 0 with Boston College having 2 turnovers as well. Cutting the penalties down and getting rid of turnovers will give Notre Dame more style points, which they need according to the voters.
Everyone knows that Notre Dame’s punt return team is non-existent, yes that is correct Notre Dame does have a punt return team believe it or not. Notre Dame is ranked 120th out of 124 teams in the FBS in punt returns averaging a measly 3.1 yards per return with only 31 yards total on the year. Neal had one return for -3 yards against Boston College. It seems like Notre Dame never sets up for the punt return and if they do, I don’t know what to say. They have maybe went for a block a handful of times on the year and are never close to blocking a kick. Special teams can make the difference in a game. Also, the punt team has underachieved this year as well ranking 76th overall with 40.66 yards per punt average. Ben Turk is an above average punter, but can be very inconsistent at times causing him to drop his average. He averaged 36.7 yards per punt against Boston College.
Overall, this was a solid performance from Notre Dame and not a lot of negatives in this game, just the fact that they need to show their dominance on the score board, since no one seems to pay attention to the actual game. Take away the penalties and turnovers and it could have been a blowout. As Coach Kelly has said all year, all that Notre Dame can control is whether they win football games and that’s it.