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Throwback Thursday: Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Boston College Eagles

The Eagles come to town for Senior Day

Notre Dame v Boston College
Notre Dame vs. Boston College
Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The Boston College Eagles come to town this weekend for Notre Dame’s Senior Day ... let’s take a look at the history of the “Holy War” series between these two teams. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish first faced the Boston College Eagles on the gridiron on September 15th, 1975, in a game held at Foxboro Stadium in Massachusetts. In the years since then, the two schools have met a total of 24 times, including a 1983 bowl match-up at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tennessee. Notre Dame leads the series 15-9. (The 15-9 stat includes the win vacated from 2012.) The Holy War name (as some call it) came from the fact that the Eagles and the Fighting Irish represent the only two Catholic universities in the United States which still compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision of the NCAA, the highest level of competition in American college football. While the “Holy War” title dates to the first contest between the two schools in 1975 and has become popularized by the media, the rivalry also has a number of other nicknames including the “Vatican Bowl”, and the “Frank Leahy Memorial Bowl.”

Here are some metrics on the series from

While not all of our Notre Dame - Boston College game memories are happy ones, there are still some good games to look back on. Here are a few of my favorite Notre Dame - BC match-ups.

1983 Liberty Bowl – Notre Dame 19 - Boston College 18

In the 1983 Liberty Bowl match-up, it was a fight to the finish between ND and BC. Even with Doug Flutie’s three touchdowns and 287-yards of passing, Boston College ended up coming up short in a 19-18 loss. The Eagles were down 19-12 at halftime. In the third quarter Flutie threw a touchdown pass to Scott Gieselman to get them within one point, but BC missed the extra point conversion needed to tie up the game. Boston College had one more chance to win the game, late in the fourth quarter, but with 1:08 left in the game, Flutie’s pass on fourth down was incomplete.

1992 – Notre Dame 54 - Boston College 7

Nine years later, in 1992, in the first game of the revived series, a top ranked Boston College team headed to Notre Dame with dreams of receiving a bid to a major bowl game, but the Fighting Irish had other plans. Notre Dame crushed Boston College 54-7, which still remains the largest margin of victory in the series. Not only did Notre Dame beat Boston College by 47 points, Coach Holtz also called for a fake punt early in the third quarter (with his team already ahead 37-0), which did not sit well with the Boston College faithful. One other notable mention from this game, the crowd scenes from the final game of the 1993 movie Rudy were filmed during halftime.

2009 – Notre Dame 20 - Boston College 16

After six straight losses to Boston College in the 2000’s, in 2009 Notre Dame finally notched a win against BC. The game was a close one, in which the lead changed five times. Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen threw for two touchdowns to Golden Tate, the second of which put the Irish ahead for good. Notre Dame sealed the win on an interception of Boston College quarterback Dave Shinskie, by Notre Dame linebacker Brian Smith with less than two minutes left in the game.

2010 – Notre Dame 31 - Boston College 13

When the two teams met in 2010, the Irish wasted no time in getting points on the scoreboard. Irish quarterback Dayne Crist threw for 3 touchdowns in the first quarter, including passes to Kyle Rudolph and Theo Riddick, before the Eagles could put any points on the board. Notre Dame never looked back after the early lead, and apparently it was too painful for the Eagles fans to watch, as noted by the empty student section in the third quarter.

2012 – Notre Dame 21 - Boston College 6

In 2012, Notre Dame’s win over Boston College was just another notch in their belt on their way to facing Alabama in the national championship game. No. 4 Notre Dame rolled over a pitiful Boston College team in Chestnut Hill, Mass., and Irish quarterback Everett Golson ran for one touchdown and threw for two more. Meanwhile, the solid Irish defense, lead by Manti Te’o, held Boston College to a mere two field goals on the day. Boston College finished the season with a 2-10 record, and their coach, Spaziani, was fired. Notre Dame, on the other hand, finished the regular season 12-0. (And, well, you know how that turned out.)

2015 – Notre Dame 19 - Boston College 16

This one would be my favorite of all the Notre Dame vs. Boston College match-ups. After taking two seasons off, the “Holy War” rivalry resumed with the first football game played in historic (Boston Red Sox) Fenway Park in 47 years. The Fighting Irish entered the game ranked No. 4, and wearing the green jerseys, but Boston College’s No. 1 ranked defense kept the game close by forcing five Irish turnovers. Despite throwing three interceptions, Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer also threw for two touchdowns in the Irish victory. Notre Dame finished the season 10-3 and ranked No. 11, while Boston College won only three games, and only one of those was a victory over a FBS opponent.

2017 – Notre Dame 49 - Boston College 20

The last time these two teams met was in 2017 in Chestnut Hill, Mass. In the first half of the game the two teams seemed evenly matched. At five minutes into the third quarter, Notre Dame only led by one point (14-13), but from that point on, the Irish turned on the heat and never looked back. Notre Dame’s rushing attack led by quarterback Brandon Wimbush and running back Josh Adams exploded, racking up another 35 points. Wimbush and Adams each rushed for over 200 yards. This win would be Notre Dame’s sixth consecutive win in the series, taking a 15-9 lead over the Eagles. (The 15-9 stat includes the win vacated from 2012.)

So ... how big do you think our margin of victory will be over Boston College on Saturday?