By DAVID VANTRESS
THE GOSHEN NEWS
After surviving a scare from Pittsburgh Saturday night — and escaping with a 29-23 victory in triple overtime to move to 9-0 on the season — the No. 4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish are back on the road this week as they travel to face perennial rival Boston College in another game that could derail the Irish’s hopes for a national title.
Head Coach Brian Kelly and his staff remind their players of that every week, and on Tuesday at his weekly press conference, Kelly said Boston College will present another challenge for his team.
As well as a homecoming for him.
“It’s always great to go back,” Kelly said. “I remember my first trip back when I was at Grand Valley State. We played Bentley College, and the one thing is there is a lot of the requests for tickets. So I’ve gotten that out of way. I’ve taken care of all my friends and relatives. They’ve got their tickets. Now they’re on their own. I’ve taken care of that, but I’m excited to get back there.”
Looking back briefly at the triple-overtime win over the Panthers, Kelly said finding ways to win tough games such as last Saturday ngiht’s is a sign of the continued development the Irish are showing.
“I told the football team that they had the heart of a champion in the way that they battled through triple overtime,” Kelly said. “But now that we understand that we will fight to the end of a battle, we’ve got to have the head of a champion, too. The head of a champion to understand that each and every week you’re going to get the opposition’s very best.”
The Irish are starting to grasp that concept, Kelly said. And a 9-0 record is uncharted territory for his players.
“This group has not been 9-0, so they have learned about how difficult it gets as you get down to just a few games left in the season,” Kelly said. “Everybody can make their season beating Notre Dame. I sensed and felt in talking to our guys that they clearly understand that they can’t play the game any less than their very best if they want to win. So I think that message resonated.”
Kelly said he and his team continue to ignore the “noise” surrounding the BCS standings, which saw Notre Dame drop to No. 4 this week as Oregon leapfrogged the Irish into the No. 3 spot.
“The way the BCS is set up right now, if you have more than two undefeated teams you can’t control it,” Kelly said. “Now, in two years when you have four teams that can play, yeah, now you can control things a little bit more. You may be talking more about your teams. But you can’t now. Maybe in two years you’ll find me talking a lot more about it.”