SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- After Saturday's skin-of-their-teeth win over Pittsburgh, Notre Dame players said they had learned their lesson. Despite what coach Brian Kelly described as a good week of preparation, Notre Dame wasn't ready for what Pitt threw at them on Saturday, which materialized into a 20-6 Panthers lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The lesson, then, became that Notre Dame feels they'll get their opponent's best every week from here on out. A few Notre Dame players said they were expecting Pitt's best leading up to last week's game, but this week, perhaps that talk will be put into action.
"They're a physical group," center Braxston Cave said of Boston College, which is 2-7. "They like to get after it, they're going to make you earn everything you get."
Tino Sunseri and Ray Graham looked excellent for Pittsburgh in the first 45 minutes of last Saturday's game -- in fact, Graham probably looked better than any offensive player has against Notre Dame all year. Boston College's strength isn't on the ground -- the Eagles rank 122nd out of 124 FBS teams in average rushing yards per game -- but the quarterback-receiver tandem of Chase Rettig and Alex Amidon has the potential to rack up yards if Notre Dame isn't careful.
"They just play Boston College football," linebacker Manti Te'o explained. "They spread it out, they run it when they have to, they have guys who do their jobs well. The quarterback slings the ball around pretty good, the receivers run nice routes and catch the ball."
But one thing Notre Dame has going for it heading into Boston is that the game isn't in South Bend. For whatever reason, Notre Dame has blown out opponents away from northern Indiana, but hasn't won a home game by more than one possession in five tries.
"It's understanding where we're at, understanding the terrain, knowing we're not at home and it's just a heightened sense of just knowing all we have is each other," Te'o said. "We've experienced a lot of success on the road so far, and we have to put in the work necessary to continue to be successful."