BOSTON (AP) — Everett Golson ran for a touchdown and threw for two more on Saturday night to help No. 4 Notre Dame beat Boston College 21-6 and keep its national championship hopes intact.
Taking the field one hour after top-ranked Alabama lost to No. 15 Texas A&M, the Fighting Irish (10-0) remained unbeaten and in the hunt for a spot in the BCS title game. And a week after needing triple overtime — and a lot of luck — to get past unheralded Pittsburgh, Notre Dame eased past a longtime rival that had twice before spoiled its hopes of a No. 1 finish.
Golson completed 16 of 24 passes for 200 yards, connecting with Troy Niklas for a 7-yard touchdown at the end of the first half and with John Goodman from 18 yards out early in the second. Manti Te’o grabbed his sixth interception of the season — a school record for a linebacker — to end BC’s last real chance at a comeback with just under 6 minutes left.
Chase Rettig completed 27 of 34 passes for 247 yards for BC (2-8), which is off to its worst start since 1989. Alex Amidon caught six passes for 84 yards to break the school’s single-season record for receiving yards.
Theo Riddick ran 18 times for 104 yard and caught six passes for 67 more for the Irish, who are 10-0 for the first time since 1993.
That was the year BC’s David Gordon kicked a 41-yard field goal as time expired to beat No. 1 Notre Dame and end its perfect season in the final game. In 2002, the Irish were unbeaten and No. 4 in the country when unranked Boston College won 14-7 in South Bend to again spoil Notre Dame’s chances at a national championship.
But there was no upset this year in the rivalry known locally as “The Holy War,” a matchup between the only two Catholic schools in the FBS that drew the first sellout crowd of the season on a frigid night in Chestnut Hill.
In fact, it wasn’t even as close as Notre Dame’s victory over Pitt, or the four other games the Irish have won by a touchdown or less, keeping them near the top of The Associated Press rankings with an outside chance at a spot in the BCS title game.
Notre Dame entered the day trailing Alabama, Oregon and Kansas State in the AP Top 25. The Irish would probably need either Oregon or Kansas State to fall from the unbeaten in order to squeeze into the top two in the BCS rankings.
Notre Dame scored on its first possession, going 95 yards to make it 7-0 on Golson’s 2-yard run. The Irish fumbled on their second try but then mounted another long drive, going 87 yards on 16 plays and taking a 14-3 lead on Golson’s pass to Niklas with 26 seconds left in the half. Golson rolled right and found Goodman in the left corner of the end zone on the first drive of the third quarter to make it 21-3.
Boston College made one last charge with a 45-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter that cut the deficit to 21-6. On Notre Dame’s next possession, Riddick fumbled and, while the referees tried to untangle the pile, BC safety Spenser Rositano stood 15 yards away, waving the ball in the air.
But BC couldn’t get past the Notre Dame 35 before turning the ball over on downs. The Eagles held on defense, then brought the ball to midfield before Rettig’s pass was deflected by receiver Donte Elliott and right to Te’o.
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