The Irish beat Purdue with a last-minute field goal and topped Michigan by a touchdown. And, last week, they needed three overtimes — surviving one of them thanks to a missed 33-yard field goal — to beat Pittsburgh.
“Everybody is going to give you their best shot,” linebacker Manti Te’o said. “Because now you’re not only Notre Dame, but you’re Notre Dame with a 9-0 record. So you’re going to get everybody’s best shot and you have to prepare for it. I don’t think we’re used to it being 9-0. But we’re learning. Last week was a great learning experience for us.”
As expected, the rivalry is getting plenty of attention in Chestnut Hill, where not much has gone right so far. The Eagles are already ineligible for a bowl game for the second straight season, but a win over Notre Dame would go a long way toward making up for that.
“This game could potentially salvage the season,” BC linebacker Nick Clancy said. “I’ll never, ever forget that moment if we could knock them off. The question going around is, ‘Why not us? If they can do it in 1993, why can’t we do it in 2012?
“This is a one-game season, is what we’re looking at. This is it, man.”
The Irish have won the last three meetings between the teams after losing the previous six. Clancy, a Chicago-area native who was looked at but not heavily recruited by Notre Dame, called playing the Irish “the next best thing” to playing in a bowl.
Offensive lineman Emmett Cleary took that a step further.
“I would rather knock Notre Dame out of the national championship than go to the Toilet Bowl,” said Cleary, another Chicagoan. “People forget that we played them straight up at their place last year. So nobody’s looking at this as some monumental upset. We’re looking at this as a football team that we can beat.”