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Defensive stars take center stage in this Holy War

All eyes will be on the linebackers Saturday.

All eyes will be on the linebackers Saturday.

That’s because two of the best in college football will be on display, when Boston College travels to South Bend to battle longtime rival Notre Dame.

For the Eagles, the lone bright spot in a disappointing 3-7 season — the school’s worst since 1998 — has been All-American Luke Kuechly. The junior was named a finalist Thursday for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which is presented to the national defensive player of the year. He has 168 tackles, 30 more than anyone else in the country, along with two interceptions.

“We have to know where he is,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly told the Chicago Tribune. “We have to identify him because he’s a savvy player.”

Meanwhile, Notre Dame boasts its own stuffer in Manti Te’o. The Irish backer leads his team with 91 tackles and ranks third nationally in sacks by a middle linebacker (4.5).

“He is one of the best players out there on defense,” Kuechly said.