All the history about the 21-game Notre Dame-Boston College football series this week seems to concentrate on two victories by the Eagles: the epic 41-39 upset of 10-0 and No. 1 Notre Dame that ruined its national title hopes, and the 14-7 stunner in 2002 that ended the 8-0 start in 2002.
Notre Dame's 1998 goal-line stand against Mike Cloud and Boston College (pictured) remains a classic.
Because this is the third time an unbeaten Irish unit in November will face Boston College, it is the natural storyline. Nevertheless, Notre Dame has posted some of its own memorable victories over the Eagles. Here’s our top 5, with three of them occurring on Nov. 7:
5. Sept. 15, 1975: Notre Dame 17, Boston College 3 — The first meeting ever between the two programs is the head coaching debut of Dan Devine. The game was moved to from a later date to Monday night prime time on ABC, and the venue is in Foxboro. The Irish are rebuilding after losing 10 starters from offense and five more on defense, while upset-minded BC was a veteran outfit that closed 1974 with a six-game winning streak.
After a 3-3-halftime tie, freshman fullback Jim Browner scores on a nine-yard run and sophomore Al Hunter tallies from 24 yards. In his first college game, Browner rushes for 95 yards and is named offensive player of the game by ABC, while older brother Ross spearheads the defense. Devine and QB Rick Slager make the cover of Sports Illustrated the following week when five days later Notre Dame travels to Purdue and wins 17-0. Two victories on the road in five days — something that will never again be matched by an Irish team.
4. Nov. 7, 1992: Notre Dame 54, Boston College 7 — The lone meeting in this series when both teams are ranked in the top 10 — Notre Dame 8th and unbeaten Boston College 9th — has two side stories.
One, many game clips for the 1993 movie “Rudy” are done during halftime, with the then capacity crowd of 59,075 providing the noise and ambiance. Second, with Notre Dame leading 37-0 in the third quarter, a fake punt by Notre Dame’s Craig Hentrich that is run for a first down is taken by Boston College as rubbing salt into the wound. It would be a rallying point in the Eagles shocking the No. 1 Irish the following year.
“The Boston College Massacre” sees the Eagles avert the shutout with only 57 seconds left when tight end Pete Mitchell catches a four-yard pass from Glenn Foley (a deadly combination a year later). Notre Dame out-gains BC 576-176, with tailback Reggie Brooks rushing for 178 yards on 18 carries, highlighted by a 73-yard TD. Rick Mirer completes 13 of his 18 passes for 180 yards and touchdowns to Lee Becton, Jerome Bettis and Jeff Burris.
3. Nov. 7, 1987: Notre Dame 32, Boston College 25 — Trailing 17-6 at halftime and 25-12 in the third quarter, sophomore quarterback Tony Rice comes off the bench to steer the comeback victory.
Senior Tim Brown accounts for a career high 294 all-purpose yards, while junior Mark Green rushes for a career high 152 yards (133 in the second half) on 23 carries. Green scores the game winner from two yards while carrying the ball the final eight times in the drive for 39 yards. The victory improves Notre Dame to 7-1 and moves it up to No. 7 in the country.
2. Dec. 29, 1983: Notre Dame 19, Boston College 18 — Notre Dame enters the Liberty Bowl as an underdog because it concludes its 6-5 regular season with three straight losses, and the team originally voted not to go. Meanwhile, electrifying junior quarterback Doug Flutie leads 9-2 Boston College.
But on this bone-chilling night in Memphis, Irish tailback Allen Pinkett rushes for 111 yards and two scores, while fullback Chris Smith adds 104. In his final game with the Irish, quarterback Blair Kiel completes 11-of-19 passes for 151 yards and a 13-yard score to freshman Alvin Miller.
The freezing conditions see the two teams combine for three missed extra points, and linebacker Tony Furjanic breaks up Flutie’s two-point conversion pass at 19-18. BC’s final drive into Notre Dame territory is snuffed when freshman Troy Wilson tips away a fourth down Flutie pass.
1. Nov. 7, 1998: Notre Dame 31, Boston College 26 — In a thrilling back-and-forth contest, the Eagles lead 17-14 at halftime before the Irish build a 31-20 cushion in the fourth quarter on the passing of Jarious Jackson (210 yards), the hands of Malcolm Johnson (six catches, 150 yards and a touchdown) and the running of Autry Denson (128 yards, two TDs).
BC makes a strong final push in the final 10 minutes with the passing of Scott Mutryn (318 yards) and the running of the nation’s No. 2 rusher Mike Cloud (141 yards).
In the final minute, Boston College drives to a first-and-goal at the Irish 4. Three straight thrusts into the line by Cloud take the Eagles to inches from the goal line. On fourth down, unblocked safety Deke Cooper knifes through the left side to dump Cloud for a two-yard loss. The No. 13 Irish improve to 7-1 with the win in Chestnut Hill.
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