SOUTH BEND, Indiana (Ticker) -- A miraculous performance by quarterback Paul Peterson helped Boston College maintain the upper hand in its Catholic school rivalry with No. 25 Notre Dame.
Peterson's 30-yard touchdown pass to Tony Gonzalez with 54 seconds remaining was the decisive blow as the Eagles rebounded from a 13-point deficit to defeat the Fighting Irish for the fourth straight time, 24-23.
"I tried to put the ball in a place where he could get to it," Peterson said of the game-winning score. "I don't think their defensive back saw the ball, and Tony just went up and got it."
An elusive quarterback like former Eagle and Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie, Peterson rolled right and connected with Larry Lester for 17 yards on 4th-and-13 with 1:26 left to keep Boston College's final drive alive.
"Letting me roll out of the pocket gave me a better chance to see what is going on down the field," Peterson said of the key fourth-down play. "It also made Notre Dame use a defender to cover me in case I was going to run."
After the go-ahead score, Notre Dame marched into Eagles territory before D.J. Fitzpatrick missed a 56-yard field-goal attempt as time expired.
Peterson finished with a career-high 383 yards on 27-of-41 passing. He rebounded from two interceptions in the first half to complete 13 of his first 14 attempts in the second, including a 21-yard scoring strike to Joel Hazard with 3:53 left in the third quarter to bring Boston College (5-2) within 20-14.
"Peterson did a great job in the second half spreading the ball around and taking what the Notre Dame defense would give us," Eagles coach Tom O'Brien said. "When we can do that is when Paul is at his best."
Lester hauled in eight receptions for 111 yards for the Eagles, who have won five of the last six meetings with Notre Dame.
The Irish took a 20-7 lead with 3:56 left in the second quarter on a nine-yard run by Darius Walker, but Fitzpatrick's failed extra point attempt moments later loomed large.
Brady Quinn passed for one touchdown and rushed for another for Notre Dame (5-3), which had moved into the top 25 following its 41st consecutive victory over Navy last week. Quinn completed 20-of-33 passes for 230 yards.
"They didn't want the game more than us," Quinn said. "When it came down to it, we beat ourselves because we didn't execute the way we needed to."
After Boston College struck first on a two-yard run by L.V. Whitworth, Quinn froze the Eagles defense with a pump fake before connecting with Matt Shelton on a 33-yard touchdown, tying the score at 7-7 with 2:54 left in the opening quarter.
The teams traded interceptions before Quinn plunged in from one yard out to give Notre Dame a 14-7 advantage 3:51 into the second quarter.
The Eagles dominated the third quarter, outgaining the Irish, 202-14. On its first possession of the second half, Boston College engineered a 15-play, 87-yard drive but came away empty handed as a 22-yard field goal attempt by freshman Matt Ohliger was blocked.
Ohliger was able to connect from 21 yards out with 12:14 remaining, however, setting the stage for Boston College's final-minute heroics.
"They did a good job against us," Irish coach Tyrone Willingham said. "We missed a number of opportunities during the game, whether it be a missed tackle or a play. We didn't give ourselves the opportunity to make a play. They made the plays."