Nov. 9, 1996
Notre Dame Bounces Back To Race Past Boston College
By Dylan Barmmer
CHESTNUT HILL, MA. -- In many ways, Notre Dame's 48-21 win over Boston College on Saturday was symbolic of the season as a whole.
The ebb and flow which has tossed the Irish from one extreme to the other so often this season was highly visible, as the Irish saw a 21-10 halftime lead evaporate into a 21-21 tie just over four minutes into the second half, before exploding for 27 unanswered points to end the game.
This game had so many interesting subplots, you almost forgot about the main headline, namely the gambling scandal which has hung over the Eagles for the last few weeks.
Early in the third quarter, though, it appeared as if it was the Irish (6-2) who may have been attempting to throw the game.
Having already turned the ball over three times in the first half, including a crucial goaline fumble by fullback Marc Edwards early in the second quarter, Notre Dame opened the door literally for an Eagles (4-6) comeback by fouling and fumbling away the game.
A personal foul on defensive end Reynaldo Wynn helped set up a 41-yard John Matich field goal, and an Autry Denson fumble keyed a Boston College drive which culminated in a 15-yard Omari Walker TD run.
With momentum completely on their side, the Eagles then converted a two-point conversion and the game was suddenly tied at 21-21.
In just over four minutes, the Irish had squandered an 11-point lead, and Alumni Stadium was engulfed by chaos. Irish fans had to be wondering if much more could go wrong for the team this season.
Enter Robert Farmer. The senior tailback, who entered the game quietly leading Irish running backs with an 8.1-yard per carry average, simply decided to put an end to Boston College's upset hopes, using a great block to dash down the right sideline for an 81-yard TD run, which was the longest run by a Notre Dame player since 1973.
"We put him in for that specific play," Irish coach Lou Holtz said of the score. "He jumped in and made a nice run. A big run."
Farmer's inflammatory run ignited the slumping Irish and their fans, while simultaneously scorching the Eagles' collective wings.
The rest of the game was all Notre Dame, as the Irish used a fumble return for a touchdown by Alton Maiden, sandwiched by TD runs by Farmer and Randy Kinder to coast to the 27-point win.
The final score obscured a valiant effort by the Eagles, who have been torn apart by the gambling scandal as of late. The outmanned and understaffed Boston College team got a strong performance from Walker out of the backfield, and the entire offensive line for most of the game.
But in the end, the Eagles crumbled just as everyone had anticipated they would, although their disintegration was more the result of a punishing Irish ground game than their internal problems.
Notre Dame carried the ball 58 times for a season-high 426 yards, wearing down the Boston College defense with a series of back-breaking runs.
While Farmer's 81-yard jaunt was the most devastating, Denson rattled off a few nice runs of his own, rumbling for 155 yards on 23 carries.
Edwards, who sustained a torn medial collateral ligament on his fumble, finished with 68 yards on seven carries before suffering the potentially season-ending injury.
"It was a costly victory because we lost Marc Edwards with the knee injury," Holtz said after the game.
1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final --- --- --- --- ----- Notre Dame 7 14 14 13 48 Boston College 3 7 11 0 21
SCORING SUMMARY First Quarter ND -- Marc Edwards 8 run (Jim Sanson kick), 6:24 BC -- FG John Matich 48, 5:45 left Second Quarter BC -- Omari Walker 7 run (John Matich kick), 3:25 ND -- Jamie Spencer 1 run (Jim Sanson kick), 10:47 ND -- Autry Denson 4 run (Jim Sanson kick), 12:43 Third Quarter BC -- John Matich 41, 2:33 BC -- Omari Walker 16 run (Anthony Dicosmo pass from Hasselbeck), 4:13 ND -- Robert Farmer 81 run (Jim Sanson kick), 8:40 ND -- Robert Farmer 11 run (Jim Sanson kick), 10:55 Fourth Quarter ND -- Alton Maiden 20 fumble return (Jim Sanson kick), 3:58 ND -- Randy Kinder 1 run (PAT failed), 9:08 Notre Dame Boston College First downs 24 21 Rushes-yards 58-426 34-142 Comp-Att-Int 9-17-1 19-47-2 Passing yards 118 193 Sacked-yards lost 0-0 4-28 Punts 5-45.6 6-41.3 Fumbles-lost 3-3 4-3 Penalties-yards 11-116 4-24 Time of possession 34:05 25:55 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS Rushing Notre Dame -- Denson 23-155, Farmer 3-98, Edwards 7-68, Kinder 11-65, Spencer 8-45, Goodspeed 2-10, Powlus 2-3, Jackson 1-minus 8, Mosley 1-minus-10. Boston College -- Walker 21-158, Chamberlin 2-14, Washington 1-11, Cloud 1-8, Mutryn 1-minus 7. Passing Notre Dame -- Powlus 9-17-1-118. Boston College -- Hasselbeck 14-31-1-123, Mutryn 5-15-1-70, Washington 0-1-0-0. Receiving Notre Dame -- M. Johnson 3-35, Mosley 2-56, Spencer 2-28, Edwards 1-6, Denson 1-minus 7. Boston College -- Harding 6-53, Dicosmo 3-68, Hemmert 3-18, Walker 3-13, Crittenden 2-19, Guazzo 1-19, Chamberlin 1-3. Attendance: 44,500