By Omar Ureña
Two golden bodyworks as helmets and the machines of faith were aligned for the Holy Race in the pandemic. The unique two catholic schools were getting their motors ready once again. It was Boston College’s annual Red Bandana game, honoring alumni Welles Crowther who died after saving 18 lives during the September 11 attacks in New York City. The Eagles wore special white jerseys and the Irish wore its navy blue uniforms.
The first game between these 2 schools was in 1975, back then the Oldsmobile Cutlass was competing with the Ford Granada for the best car in vogue. Niki Lauda was defending the colors of Ferrari and became champion driving an unstoppable Ferrari 312T. In their first match the Eagles were defeated by the Irish 17-16.
Saturday night the verve of these motorized heroes turned on the engines. Boston College hit the road first when Zay Flowers catched a 4 yard pass from Phil Jurkovec.
Notre Dame offense accelerators were not pumping. Boston College chassis were far from being damaged, although the Irish offensive line was embracing the challenge and it was their turn to crash bodies. Aron Banks (69), Liam Eichenberg (74), Robert Hainsey (72) were jamming the trucks roaring in front of them, pickups colliding as the Eagles hammered and filled the box to stop the run in the middle, offensive coordinator Tommy Rees wisely changed the route of his cars and they took off the outside lanes, following Tommy Tremble crashing golden helmets, hitting hard defensive ends, tackles and safeties. Tommy is a blocking machine and he’s not the only one tight end infringing pain, there’s Brock Wright pounding car bodies and Michael Mayer catching, running and moving Eagles out of the way.
Second quarter was explosive like Indy cars with twin-turbocharged engines at the Indy 500. On 2nd and goal Ian Book threw a 13 yard fireball to Ben Skowronek who scored an exciting touchdown. Notre Dame was leading the race 24-13.
Defense stepped up and did everything they could to stay with fresh wheels on this demolition derby madness of masks, Covid tests, cancelled games and courage. Adetokunbo Ogundeji shared to Gráfico Sports how it worked having different guys at the race line.
“We got at least 8 to 9 guys out there , we like to rotate our guys , to keep us fresh , there are a lot of young guys that can play for us, to help us play 100%”
Freshman DT Rylie Mills (99), Ovie Oghoufo (29) and Jacob Lacey (54) were stepping up. Dealing Hayes was there, guiding the young guys.
Notre Dame offense was back, in another 2nd and goal the Ian Book-Ben Skowronek formula worked again, this time was a 7 yard TD pass with only 4 seconds on the clock before halftime. Irish were up 31-16. The Irish came back to the racetrack and decided to finish strong. Offensive linemen Jarrett Patterson (55) and Tommy Kraemer (78) were fighting. C’Bo Flemister caught a career-long 27-yard reception that set the offense on the one-yard line and then he hit the end zone on a one-yard rush.
Hecket Pokovich was fired up and the Eagles didn’t want to be second place. David Bailey pressed the pedal and scored a touchdown on a 3 yard run, at the end of the quarter.
The Irish offense was back and Ian Book ran 6 yards for a touchdown. Coach Kelly understands what he means to the Blue and Gold attack:
“He is got great escape ability, but he’s also got a great sense of when to take off. And I think there’s some great illustrations here tonight, where He stays in the pocket and finds a late crossing route to a Rick Davis after you know a good two and a half seconds in the pocket. But in another time where he takes off when he’s getting pressure off the edge and picks up a key first down”.
On air Book went for 20 of 27 for 283 yards, 3 touchdowns. He ran 84 yards in 10 carries and upped his total to 14 rushing touchdowns in his career, tying Joe Montana and Everett Golson for the all-time among Irish quarterbacks.
Despite the rotation the defense was running out of gas, they had a fueled QB who was part of the Irish racing team before heading to Boston. Adetokunbo Ogundeji knows they should improve.
“I felt we did a good job but we got to finish on the ball we need to finish on the sacks and continue to put pressure throughout the game“
The Eagles didn’t want to slow the rhythm on the asphalt track, Phil Jurkovec threw a 8 yard TD pass to Hunter Long and Travis Levy ran and scored the two point conversion.
The Irish raced as champions, they already won the 2 biggest races of the year. They’re heading as the Mercedes racing team of college football in a speedway brightened by fire and a hopeful sun. Golden dreams of a sacred autumn rite will come true if the Irish show a horsepower identity in the upcoming races against North Carolina and Wake Forest. The Irish are now 31-3 since the beginning of the 2018 season and have scored 45 or more points in two-consecutive games for the first time since 1996. This Golden team is looking powerful and furious in their way to finish first in the ACC Championship finish line.
#2 NOTRE DAME 45 BOSTON COLLEGE 31