Boston College 14, Notre Dame 7
-- Fans always wonder what the little-known defender is thinking when he is making the greatest play of his life and more than 80,000 pairs of eyes are on him.
That moment arrived for Boston College linebacker Josh Ott late in the second quarter of this afternoon's BC-Notre Dame game. Eagles cornerback Trevor White swarmed Irish quarterback Pat Dillingham, who tried a desperation heave. The ball flew right at Ott, who cradled it and chugged 71 yards for the winning touchdown in a 14-7 Boston College upset.
"While I was running I just kept thinking, 'Don't trip. Don't trip,' " Ott said. "You don't know when something is going to come to you. But the trick is to always be around the ball, and eventually something is going to happen."
This one didn't figure. Notre Dame came in 8-0, ranked fourth, was home at Notre Dame Stadium, and the 4-3 Eagles had lost 23 consecutive regular season games to ranked teams.
But BC must use a different formula for its figuring. The Eagles upset another undefeated Irish team in the last regular season game of 1993 and beat them again in 1994, '99 and 2001. And if Notre Dame's post warmup switch from the standard blue jerseys to rarely used green was intended to be intimidating, it backfired.
"It just made us more amped," said Ott, a 6-foot-2, 225-pound junior.
Put it this way: Notre Dame's first use of green jerseys in a game since losing to Georgia Tech in the 1999 Gator Bowl didn't exactly turn the Eagles green with envy.
"They switched to green to surprise us," said Derrick Knight, who finished with 129 yards rushing, including a three-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. "It showed respect for us. They don't bring out the green jerseys for just anybody."
The Eagles already had lost to top-five teams Miami and Virginia Tech this year, and said they were sick of being also-rans.
"We wanted this more than anything," Otto said. "We know we can beat anybody any day."
It can be argued that Notre Dame was a co-conspirator in beating itself with seven fumbles -- three lost -- two interceptions and few big offensive plays. The Irish's only score came with 2 minutes 25 seconds left.
Running out of time, Notre Dame hungered for one more good possession, but BC played keep-away by eating clock. Knight carried four times and burned precious seconds at the end.
"We haven't finished a game," Knight said. "We haven't finished a team off. We kept our poise."
And Notre Dame, with its five turnovers, didn't.
"The turnovers, that was a big part of the game," Boston College safety Doug Bessette said as he left the locker room toting a pizza under his arm. "This is sweet. This program really did need a win."
Notre Dame committed five turnovers.