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.’’
Last year, the Irish needed to sweat out an onside kick in the final minutes to hold on for a 16-14 victory.
Kelly doesn’t need a history lesson to know that.
‘‘Boston College (is) a team that has played us very, very well,’’ he said. ‘‘This past year obviously at home we had to make some big stops late to win the football game.’’
But when a fan asked during his radio program whether she needed to have her pacemaker recharged, Kelly told her not to worry.
‘‘I think we’re going to take care of all the hearts this weekend,’’ he said. ‘‘If we get off to the kind of start we should and put some points on the board, I hope we can save everybody.’’
AP Sports Writer Tom Coyne contributed to this story from South Bend, Ind.