Quarterback Ian Book etched his name into the Notre Dame annals last week, setting a school record with his third game of the season with at least five touchdown passes.
As the No. 16 Fighting Irish (8-2) prepare to host Boston College (5-5) on Saturday in South Bend, Ind., the senior signal-caller remains eager about adding to that standard while keeping his team climbing toward its third straight double-digit win season.
“I feel great,” Book said. “I’m confident, confident with all the guys on this team. The defense is doing an awesome job getting us the ball. They play so well and give us so many opportunities, and our offense, we’re starting to roll.”
Book connected with Chase Claypool on four of his five scoring passes as Notre Dame routed then-No. 23 Navy 52-20 last week.
“Chase always has the juice,” Book said. “You can tell when he gets on a roll, you want to keep getting him the ball. Even though it might not be the clearest look, he’s going to come down with it. That makes my job easier.”
Book has thrown for 2,293 yards, with 26 touchdowns and six interceptions, while also rushing for 421 yards and four scores.
Rested from their bye week, the Eagles have their eyes on spoiling senior day for the Fighting Irish. A victory would make Boston College bowl-eligible for the sixth time in seven seasons under coach Steve Addazio.
Saturday marks the first meeting between the programs since 2017 and the first encounter at Notre Dame Stadium since 2011. Addazio said he has made sure to discuss with players the importance of absorbing the storied game-day stadium atmosphere at Notre Dame without being consumed by it.
“As I told our kids, you’ve got to have great preparation because you’ve got to go into that stadium with great confidence, and you’ve got to have a warrior mentality,” Addazio said.
“When you go out into that tunnel and get ready to go on the field, it’s not easy to go beat Notre Dame at Notre Dame. … You’ve got to go in there with great confidence and understand that you’re going to have to go the distance, four quarters, to beat that team on their home field.”
The Eagles rolled to a school-record 691 yards of offense in a 58-27 win at Syracuse on Nov. 2, and they gained 508 in a 38-31 home loss to Florida State one week later. The attack has clicked behind junior running back AJ Dillon, who enters the game with 1,451 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns on 272 carries this season. A one-time Notre Dame recruit, Dillon is the grandson of Thom Gatewood, who was an All-America wide receiver for the Fighting Irish.
Addazio preached balance and consistency when defending the Fighting Irish.
“They’ve got weapons, and when you overload one thing, you leave something else a little vulnerable,” he said.
“So you’ve got to have a little bit of everything in there, and you’ve got to be right when you’re making your calls because you’re playing a little bit of chess in terms of those moves that you want to do to take away this and that, take away this on this. Every time you take something away, that means you’re exposing something else.”
Notre Dame leads the series with Boston College 15-9 and boasts six straight victories against the Eagles, who had won the previous six meetings. Boston College is 5-7 all-time in South Bend and is looking for its first win there since 2007.
–Field Level Media