With the Irish rolling into Boston tonight, it looks like the weather will be a major factor, with rain throughout the evening.
Normally, weather would be a problem for this matchup, as rain makes it harder to pass the ball, and favors the ground game. the Irish have struggled at times to run the ball, and also have struggled mightily to stop opposing teams from running against them.
However, the Irish have a long history of doing some incredible things in bad weather. Remember the Snow Bowl of '93? Or more recently, the comeback win in a monsoon at Michigan State in '06?
The Irish get fired up for games in inclement weather, and I have a feeling that this week will be no exception.
Protect the ball.
Turnovers have killed us in opposing stadiums this year, and in wet conditions, the number of turnovers should go up.
If the Irish can avoid turnovers, I think that they will force Crane into getting sloppy with the ball - he has more INTs than TDs this season.
Find a running game.
If we attempt to throw the ball over tthe top of the BC defense, which is on paper our strength in matchups, we may have a long day. Rainy conditions and poor footing make cuts harder for receivers, and can lead to slipping and falling on routes, which in turn can lead to interceptions.
We need to establish a strong power running game today, so I suspect we will get heavy doses of James Aldridge running downhill and trying to muscle BC up front.
Use the go route sparingly, but take your shots.
Because this game is probably going to turn into a trench warfare type of game, we need to be able to pull the safeties off the line of scrimmage. I'd like to see the occasional long pass, preferably on simple go routes (to avoid slipping and falling as they try to cut), to gash this team for big gains.
Short passes and runs should be the staple, but when we get a chance on second and short, I'd like us to use our speed advantage outside to try and blow this game open.
Stop the running game cold.
Crane cannot beat us with the pass, so I'd like to see us stack the line of scrimmage and bring run blitz after run blitz to keep Crane in the pocket and get penetration into the backfield to neutralize their running game.
Leave our corners on an island against their receivers, and bring the house.
BC won't beat us through the air, and we need to force them into three and outs to take away their home field advantage.
The Irish are evenly matched with this team on paper, but I think Coach Weis called out their manhood this week. The Irish players all seem to have a chip on their shoulder, and if Corwin Brown's attitude is permeated through the defense this week, this thing could get ugly.
Look for the Irish to out-physical the Eagles inside, and then stick the dagger in with some long passes for scores.
Notre Dame 38