Maybe it was his homecoming to Boston or maybe it was the fact that he just felt relieved that his team didn’t spit the bit on a golden opportunity at a place at the four-seat national championship table. Whatever the case, following a 19-16 nailbiting win over the 3-8 Boston College Eagles at Fenway Park, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly found a very fitting metaphor for surviving five turnovers and three in the red zone on the way to a 10th win of the season.

“Well, it’s like anything else. I’ve been trying to prepare for this moment,” Kelly said. “It’s like leaving runners in scoring position (laughter). Pretty good?”

After making the baseball reference he had been planning, he admitted that there’s no planning – or excuse – for not converting points when you get the chance against a team like BC.

“You can’t go down there and not come away with points, especially — that’s a really good defense, and for us to come up empty every single time, you know, we saw that almost sort of against Temple, too,” Kelly said. “You’ve got to score points when you’re down there. We’re moving the ball fairly effectively most of the night, and just to keep stubbing our toe down there becomes concerning, obviously, and it made it a lot closer in my perspective.

“I thought Boston College did a great job of ripping it loose. Great job on CJ Prosise. They ripped that one loose. And I really couldn’t tell on Josh Adams’s fumble. It looked like one he should have secured. That was the second one.”

Kelly was really concerned when Boston College corner Justin Simmons picked off DeShone Kizer at the Boston College 3 when the Irish were trying to put some distance between themselves and the Eagles in the third quarter.

“The interception was careless,” Kelly said. “I mean, we tried to force on 1st down, you know, a little boot pass into a corner that’s sinking in the back of the end zone. That’s crazy; throw that thing away. It’s 2nd and 10. And then the fourth one, they were in zone, we threw a little screen pass, ill-advised, you know, again. Worst thing down there, let’s kick the football. Learned a lot from it, and I think we’ll be better because of it.”

The ability to just survive a team that was on a six-game losing skid coming in will do the Golden Domers no favors in the eyes of the selection committee for the final four in the national championship bracket.

“The committee is out of my hands,” Kelly said. “It’s out of our players’ hands. All we want to do is put ourselves in a position to be considered. We feel like we need to win another game to still be considered. We’re one of the top four teams after last week. We’ll see where we stand this week. We’ve just got to keep winning games. We’ve got another game against a nationally-ranked team which will give us an opportunity.

“Our guys know what has been in front of them when they lost to Clemson early in the year. You’ve got to win all your games. Got one more, got to win it.”

Notre Dame plays at Stanford next Saturday, their final regular season game.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Saturday was a heck of a way for a young team to go through the growing pains.

Saturday was a heck of a way for a young team to go through the growing pains.

But the 19-16 loss to No. 5 Notre Dame at Fenway Park was filled with plenty of learning experiences for the men of Boston College coach Steve Addazio.

“This is going to come back to us,” Addazio said of the growing moment. “It’s exciting. It’s heartbreaking. It’s frustrating. But it’s exciting. It’s not like we’re going to be all fixed right away. We’re still a young team, but we’re going to get better and better and better. To watch Jeff compete out there, to watch John Fadule compete out there, to watch Thaddeus Smith compete out there, to watch Elijah Robinson compete out there, to watch Mike Walker compete out there, to watch Tom Sweeney compete out there.”

Boston College’s attrition rate this season has been remarkably high, starting with the loss of quarterback Darius Wade to a broken ankle and star running back Jon Hilliman to a broken foot.

“I’m just rattling off some really young guys, guys that are freshmen or redshirt freshmen, to watch Chris Lindstrom and to watch Aaron Monteiro and John Baker, wow,” Addazio said. “I’ve been coaching a long time and haven’t seen a list that long of that kind of youth before, but it’ll come back.”

Addazio’s Eagles have lost seven straight to fall to 3-8 on the season. They will try to head into the winter on a winning note when they face Syracuse at the Carrier Dome next Saturday.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

In the end, the Boston College defense couldn’t do it all Saturday night against the fifth-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Boston College's Justin Simmons intercepts DeShone Kizer in the red zone Saturday night at Fenway Park. (Mike Petraglia/

Boston College gave Notre Dame a fight at Fenway Park before falling. (Mike Petraglia/

In the end, the Boston College defense couldn’t do it all Saturday night against the fifth-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

In a festive atmosphere before 38,686 fans at Fenway Park, the Fighting Irish played a sloppy game but came away with a 19-16 win over the Boston College Eagles in the Shamrock Series. While the game was in Boston College’s backyard, it was a mostly Irish partisan crowd. The contest, technically a Notre Dame home game, was the first football game at Fenway since the Patriots beat the Bengals, 33-14, on Dec. 1, 1968.

Notre Dame had to recover an onsides kick with 53 seconds remaining to secure the win after Boston College’s Jeff Smith drove the Eagles 86 yards in nine plays to draw the Eagles within a field goal with under a minute left.

The game appeared on paper to be an easy win for the fifth-ranked Irish, who knew coming into the game that No. 3 Ohio State lost at home, 17-14, to Michigan State. Notre Dame (10-1) didn’t play like its national playoff hopes was on the line. They were their own worst enemy in the first half, committing four turnovers in the first half, including a pair of turnovers inside the red zone.

The Eagles (3-8) forced four first half turnovers and could’ve had a fifth but it was overturned after TV replay. Notre Dame still managed a 10-0 lead behind a Justin Yoon 30-yard field goal and a 10-yard touchdown pass from DeShone Kizer to Amir Carlisle. Notre Dame outgained Boston College 153-26 in the 15 minutes.

Boston College had a golden opportunity to get back in the game but Thadd Smith dropped a likely touchdown pass at the Notre Dame 25 after he got behind the defense.

Boston College continued to show life after halftime, as Michael Walker took the second half kickoff 67 yards to the Notre Dame 27. But as would be the case all night, the Eagles offense could do absolute nothing with the ball, settling for a 43-yard Colton Lichtenberg field goal into the right field end zone that cut Notre Dame’s lead to 10-3. Jeff Smith came on for an ineffective John Fadule in the third quarter and began running more of an option-read offense.

The Irish appeared ready to respond immediately when they drove from their own 28 down to the Boston College 6. But there, BC defensive back Justin Simmons picked off DeShone Kizer at the BC 3 to end the drive. It was Notre Dame’s fifth turnover of the night, which did not including a fumble recovered by BC in the first half that was overturned by replay.

Kizer found Chris Brown for a 12-yard touchdown connection late in the third quarter and the Irish appeared to be pulling away. The extra point was botched and it was 16-3 Notre Dame. Justin Yoon hit his second field goal of the night from 35 yards to put the Irish up, 19-3, with 10:35 left in the fourth. But after the ensuing kickoff put the Eagles at the 20, Smith ran a keeper 80 yards for a Boston College touchdown that drew Boston College within 10, 19-9, with 10:17 left.

Smith hit receiver Charlie Callinan over the middle for a three-yard touchdown score with 54 seconds left in the game to draw the Eagles close.

The Fighting Irish finish their regular season at No. 15 Stanford next week and would likely land in the national championship four-team playoff with a win.

This was the third time the two rivals played at a non-campus site. on Sept. 15, 1975, Notre Dame beat Boston College, 17-3, at Schaefer Stadium in Foxboro. Notre Dame won, 19-18, in the 1983 Liberty Bowl played in Memphis, Tenn.

The Irish improve to 2-0 lifetime at Fenway, beating Dartmouth, 64-0, on Oct. 14, 1944.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Jeremy Bracco’s sudden departure from Boston College on Wednesday could have been a distraction for the Eagles. Coach Jerry York and team captain Teddy Doherty made sure it wasn’t.

After learning Wednesday morning that Bracco, a second-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs, was leaving after just five games to sign with the Ontario Hockey League’s Kitchener Rangers, the Eagles addressed it and then immediately turned the page.

Doherty, one of four seniors on the Eagles, said the team held a captains meeting after finding out about Bracco’s decision.

“It was really just a meeting where we said, ‘If you don’t want to be here, you don’t want to be here,’ ” Doherty said. “I thought our best two days of practice the entire year were Wednesday and Thursday. … We did a great job blocking out all the distractions. It was irrelevant.”

The fourth-ranked Eagles showed the truth in Doherty’s words Friday night, as they beat fifth-ranked Denver, 4-3, in an exciting, back-and-forth game. Doherty scored one of the Eagles’ goals and Matthew Gaudreau scored the game-winner on a mad scramble in the Denver crease with 36 seconds left in the game. BC has won four in a row and is now 5-1-0 on the season.

York didn’t go into too many details about Bracco’s departure, but he did address it after the game.

“We have certain non-negotiable items with our hockey team,” York said. “It’s not for everybody. There’s certain standards that we’re not going to waver from. It’s not for everybody.

“We moved on and we played very, very well. This is a tough sport, played at a high level. We demand an awful lot from our players. If you’re not ready for that, then it’s not a good environment for you.”

Blog Author: 
Scott McLaughlin

There were questions over the summer about whether Jeremy Bracco would keep his commitment to Boston College or jump to the Ontario Hockey League. Bracco, a second-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs, did end up at BC, but he didn’t stay long.

After playing just five games for the Eagles, Bracco is leaving school and signing with the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers, according to multiple sources. Mike McMahon of College Hockey News was the first to report Bracco’s departure.

Bracco, a 5-foot-9 winger, registered three assists and eight shots on goal while playing top-nine minutes in his five games with BC. He is expected to be in Kitchener on Wednesday and a deal could be finalized then.

Bracco is certainly a big loss for the Eagles, but it’s not a season-ender. Forward depth was a strength of their team and they should still have enough of it to be a strong offensive team. BC takes a 4-1-0 record into Friday night’s game against Denver.

Blog Author: 
Scott McLaughlin

Didn’t we just start football season? College hoops are just around the corner, too. The Big East Conference held media day for its 10 men’s basketball programs at Madison Square Garden in New York Wednesday, and to no one’s surprise the league coaches selected Villanova as the preseason top pick.

The Wildcats return three starters from a team that won the Big East regular-season and tournament titles last season, featuring Big East co-Player of the Year Ryan Arcidiacono. Arcidiacono, who was named as a preseason first-team All-Big East selection, joins 6-foot-10 center Daniel Ochefu and 6-5 shooting guard Josh Hart as the core of a team that finished 33-3 in 2014-15.

They’ll be joined by the selection for Big East Freshman of the Year, guard Jalen Brunson, in a potentially very potent lineup.

The Preseason Player of the Year honor, however, went to Providence’s Kris Dunn. Dunn shared the award with Arcidiacono last season and also took the league’s Defensive Player of the Year honor — the first time in Big East history that a guard accomplished the feat. Dunn averaged 15.6 points, 7.5 assists, 5.5 rebounds and almost three steals per game for the Friars, who were picked for fifth overall in the preseason Big East poll.

Dunn is the second Friar to receive Preseason Player of the Year honors, after former PC All-American Ryan Gomes took the honor in 2004-05. PC plays Stonehill College in its lone exhibition game at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Oct. 31 and will open the regular season Nov. 14 at home against Harvard.

Big East Preseason Poll
1. Villanova
2. Georgetown
3. Butler
4. Xavier
5. Providence
6. Marquette
7. Seton Hall
8. DePaul
9. Creighton
10. St. John’s

Big East Preseason First Team
Kellen Dunham, Butler
Roosevelt Jones, Butler
D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Georgetown
Ryan Arcidiacono, Villanova
Jalen Reynolds, Xavier
Player of the Year:  Kris Dunn, Providence
Freshman of the Year: Jalen Brunson, Villanova

Second Team
Billy Garrett Jr., DePaul
Henry Ellenson, Marquette
Angel Delgado, Seton Hall
Isaiah Whitehead, Seton Hall
Daniel Ochefu, Villanova

Honorable Mention
Isaac Copeland, Georgetown
Luke Fischer, Marquette
Jalen Brunson, Villanova
Trevon Bluiett, Xavier

Blog Author: 
John Rooke

Boston College is the favorite to win Hockey East this season, according to both the media and coaches around the league. The Eagles received 20 of 35 first-place votes in the league media poll released over the weekend and seven of 12 first-place votes in the coaches poll released Monday at the league’s annual media day event.

Defending Hockey East champion Boston University got three first-place votes in the coaches poll and defending national champion Providence got the other two. In the media poll, BU got seven first-place votes, UMass-Lowell got five, Providence got two and Notre Dame got one.

Besides the coaches poll, the other big news item to come from media day is that BC goalie Thatcher Demko may not be ready for the start of the season. Demko, a Canucks draft pick and preseason All-Hockey East pick by the media, had surgery on both hips after last season.

Demko’s hips had actually been bothering him for several years, but he still managed to put together a strong first two seasons at BC, posting a .919 save percentage in 24 games as a freshman and a .925 in 35 games last year, good for fourth in the league. The expectation is that Demko will be more mobile (not to mention more comfortable) once he’s completely recovered from the surgery.

“He’s not 100 percent yet, but we expect by late October, early November that he should be fully healed,” York said.

Here are the complete preseason polls from the coaches and media, with points included and first-place votes in parentheses:

Coaches Poll
1. Boston College (7) – 115
2. Boston University (3) – 107
3. Providence (2) – 95
4. UMass-Lowell – 92
5. Northeastern – 76
6. New Hampshire – 74
7. Notre Dame – 72
8. Vermont – 57
9. UConn – 34
10. Maine – 29
11. Merrimack – 27
12. UMass – 14

Media Poll
1. Boston College (20) – 397
2. Boston University (7) – 374
3. UMass-Lowell (5) – 344
4. Providence (2) – 328
5. Notre Dame (1) – 250
6. Vermont – 237
7. Northeastern – 217
8. New Hampshire – 187
9. UConn – 142
10. Merrimack – 119
11. Maine – 87
12. Massachusetts – 48

I had a vote in the media poll, so my ballot is below. I’m one of the five on the Lowell bandwagon, although truth be told, you could put the top four in any order and I wouldn’t put up much of an argument. I wouldn’t be too surprised if anyone in the 5-8 range makes a run either. I’ll share a lot more of my thoughts on the season preview edition of College Puckcast.

1. UMass-Lowell
2. Boston University
3. Boston College
4. Providence
5. Vermont
6. Notre Dame
7. Northeastern
8. New Hampshire
9. Maine
10. UConn
11. Merrimack
12. UMass

The media also picked a preseason All-Hockey East Team that looked like this. There are four forwards because there was a tie.

F- Tyler Kelleher (Junior, New Hampshire)
F- Danny O’Regan (Senior, Boston University)
F- Kevin Roy (Senior, Northeastern)
F- Alex Tuch (Sophomore, Boston College)
D- Matt Grzelcyk (Senior, Boston University)
D- Ian McCoshen (Junior, Boston College)
G- Thatcher Demko (Junior, Boston College)

I had Roy, Grzelcyk, McCoshen and Demko all on my ballot, but I didn’t have Kelleher, O’Regan or Tuch, although all three were certainly considered. Instead I had Ahti Oksanen (senior, BU) and Mario Puskarich (junior, Vermont) as my other two forwards.

Blog Author: 
Scott McLaughlin

It truly was a lost night for Boston College Friday at Alumni Stadium.

Not only did they lose the game to the ninth-ranked Florida State Seminoles, they lost their starting quarterback for the year.