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Throwback Thursday: Notre Dame VS Boston College, 1992

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“We got tired of hearing BC this and BC that. No one was really giving us the respect we deserved,’’ said Reggie Brooks

Notre Dame locker room, 2018
Lisa Kelly

If you’re anything like me, you’re still feeling pretty great about the epic win over Clemson last weekend, but in the back of your mind memories of that 1993 Boston College game are creeping in to ruin the victory parade. While I’m sure Coach Kelly has them more than prepared for Boston College this week, teaching them their Boston College history is never a bad thing. That being said, I’m not going to throwback to the 1993 Notre Dame vs. Boston College match-up (obviously). Instead, I’m going to take a look back at the 1992 game, which also happened to be Notre Dame’s largest margin of victory over the Eagles. But before I get into that, here is a little history of the ND vs. BC match-up.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have faced the Boston College Eagles a total of 24 times, with Notre Dame winning 15 and Boston College winning 9. The current win streak is six (seven if you include the vacated win of 2012), held by Notre Dame during the years of 2009-2019. Notre Dame’s largest margin of victory is 54-7 (in 1992), and Boston College’s largest margin of victory is 30-11 (in 1994). Boston College’s longest win streak was six, and occurred during the years of 2001-2008. Boston College has had one National Championship, to Notre Dame’s 11. Boston College has had one Heisman winner, to Notre Dame’s seven. And Boston College has had 13 Consensus All-Americans, to Notre Dame’s 102.

Boston College traveled to South Bend to face Notre Dame on that gray November day (at game time it was 31F, with 10-15 MPH wind from the northwest, and snow flurries in the forecast), which also happened to be the game they filmed Rudy at halftime. From Notre Dame’s “Strong and True” moments: Though the movie Rudy was shot over the course of several weeks, it was during halftime of Notre Dame’s 1992 game against Boston College, that the famous final scene was filmed. After the Fighting Irish and Eagles went to their respective locker rooms, the movie’s film crew and actors emerged to re-create the 1975 game between Notre Dame and Georgia Tech, in which Rudy Ruettiger (‘76), a 5-foot-6 walk-on registered a sack in the final play of his college career. Starring actor Sean Astin, Rudy was the first movie to be shot on campus since Knute Rockne, All-American in 1940. Rudy premiered on Oct. 13, 1993, and is widely regarded as one of the best sports films ever made.

The following excerpt, from the Chicago Tribune, gives some detailed coverage of the game, which for whatever reason I don’t remember, even though I was there (my senior year). I must have been distracted? Anyways, here’s that excerpt for you!

Notre Dame Bashes BC in 54-7 Rout, by Joseph Tybor

Notre Dame went the full 15 rounds Saturday, and by the time it was over, Boston College had to put away the smelling salts and call for the last rites. In a battle of the only Catholic schools playing Division I-A football, Notre Dame made Boston College look like Little Brothers of the Poor. In a battle between two Top 10 teams, the No. 8 Irish made the previously undefeated No. 9 Eagles look worse than winless Navy.

The final score was 54-7. Only a Boston College touchdown with 1:46 left prevented the massacre from being the worst inflicted on the Eagles since a 55-0 loss to Colby 80 years ago.

Notre Dame scored six of the seven times it had the ball in the first half, running up a 37-0 lead at intermission. Meanwhile, a tenacious, aggressive defense limited Boston College to a net 11 yards in the first half. “I’m not astounded because I’m probably punch-drunk,’’ said Boston College coach Tom Coughlin, whose Eagles were ranked fourth in scoring defense coming into the game, yielding an average of only 11.9 points a game. ‘‘That’s a lot of points against a defense that was rated as highly as we were.”

“We got our butts kicked and our heads are down and our tails are between our legs. It’s total humility.’’

All week the Irish had heard how they had been unable to win the big games at home the last 2 1/2 seasons. In five games with Top 20 teams during that time, the Irish had won only one. They had blown big leads against Stanford twice, Tennessee and Penn State, and coach Lou Holtz wondered aloud why they couldn’t go the distance like a champion.

On the other hand, Boston College (7-1-1) was touted as this year’s Cinderella team. The Eagles were ranked seventh in total defense and sixth in total offense, and quarterback Glenn Foley was third in passing efficiency.

The Irish used Boston College’s glossy statistics as a sword and turned it on the Eagles.

“We got tired of hearing BC this and BC that. No one was really giving us the respect we deserved,’’ said Reggie Brooks, who rushed for 148 yards on 15 carries in the first half, including a 73-yard sprint that put the Irish up 34-0 with 9:51 left in the second quarter.

“We just got fed up and decided it’s time for them to see a real Notre Dame offense. We get a lot of negative comments and you just get tired of it.’’

Brooks, who has run as well as any Heisman candidate when healthy this year, finished with 178 yards on 18 carries (9.3 yards per carry). He became the seventh 1,000-yard rusher in Notre Dame history and the first in the Holtz era. For the season he is averaging 8.45 yards per carry and threatens to break George Gipp’s Irish record (1920, 8.1).

Even Holtz, who groaned all week about his offense not being tough enough, wore a big smile after this one.

“This is one of the few times I can come up here and say that our team was outstanding in a number of areas,’’ he said. “It was just our day. There’s just no other way of putting it. We were an outstanding football team today.’’

Holtz let himself open to a revenge match next year as the series resumes (through the 2004) with a controversial call.

With the Irish up 37-0 at the start of the third quarter, Craig Hentrich faked a punt on fourth and 1 and rambled for the first down.

Quarterback Rick Mirer capped that 67-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown loft to Jeff Burris.

“There’s nothing illegal about it,’’ Holtz said about his calling the fake. ‘’It was a matter of running the play and letting people know we have it.”

“It was 37-0, but you have to remember there were 13 minutes to go in the third quarter. We scored 37 points in the first half. They could do it in the second half.”

“I’m not one to put anybody down. Good Lord knows we felt the game was still in doubt at that time.’’

Mirer finished with 180 yards, hitting on 13-of-18 passes.

He also ran 16 yards for a score and his 192 yards in total offense puts him five behind Steve Beuerlein’s school record of 6,459 for his career.

Until the final minute, Boston College’s best scoring opportunity came when they recovered a punt fumbled by Michael Miller at the Irish 13. But the Eagles couldn’t move in the face of relentless defensive pressure and on fourth down Burris intercepted a Foley pass in the end zone.

Got some extra time on your hands? Want to watch some smash mouth Notre Dame football? Here you go! (Even if you don’t, watch the first minute of the video. I love how coach is mumbling under his breath as he walks out of the tunnel. I may just have to spend my Friday night rewatching this game.)

So, what say you? Will Notre Dame breeze past Boston College this weekend? Or will the Eagles put up a bit of a fight?

Cheers & GO IRISH!