SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Jonas Gray rushed for a touchdown, David Ruffer kicked three field goals and No. 24 Notre Dame recovered an onside kick with just under 2 minutes to play to hold off Boston College 16-14 on Saturday.
Ruffer had field goals of 40, 41 and 27 yards for the Irish (8-3), who matched their victory total from last year with their fourth straight win. But it was a costly victory, too, with Gray leaving in the third quarter with what looked to be a knee injury. Gray, who was enjoying a breakout year after a lackluster first three seasons, had extended his scoring streak to eight games with a 26-yard run on the opening drive of the game.
The Eagles struggled to get anything going offensively for most of the second half, with Chase Rettig throwing 10 incompletions in a row at one point. But Rettig got on track just in time to make things interesting, finding Chris Pantale for a 21-yard gain and throwing a 17-yarder to Rolandan Finch as the Eagles advanced to the Notre Dame 16 with about 3 minutes to play. A pass interference call on Zeke Motta moved Boston College to the 2 and, after a false start and an incompletion, Rettig connected with Bobby Swigert for a 7-yard score.
Boston College (3-8) went for the onside kick, but Robby Toma recovered it and Notre Dame ran the clock down to just eight seconds. The Eagles got the ball back and lateraled several times before Irish linebacker Troy Niklas made the final tackle around the Boston College 15 to end the game. Notre Dame has beaten Boston College three years in a row after losing six straight.
Eagles linebacker Luke Kuechly was credited with 14 tackles, leaving him one shy of the Boston College career record. The junior did set the ACC record with 523 career tackles.
Notre Dame looked as if it was going to have an easy afternoon when it marched 80 yards on its opening drive, capped by Gray’s rumble through the Boston College defense. But the Irish offense stalled twice just outside the Boston College red zone, and Tommy Rees was picked off around midfield on another drive. Rees finished 24-of-39 for 256 yards.
Cierre Wood had 98 yards for Notre Dame, giving him 1,001 for the season. Michael Floyd had 10 catches for 92 yards in his final game at Notre Dame Stadium.