Harrowingly Close Games for BC Football in Recent Years

The Boston College football team loves a challenge. When faced with a nationally ranked team or a bowl game, the Eagles have been known to really step up, especially after head coach Steve Addazio joined the team in 2013. The Eagles have fought to win big games and prove that they will not just roll over when faced with unfavorable odds. Here is a look back at all of the times in recent history BC has shown us why we should never overlook them:

 

No 8. FSU 2013 Loss

FSU ultimately won the a national championship in 2013, defeating Auburn in the Rose Bowl. Earlier in the season, however, the Seminoles didn't get the blowout they expected against an Eagles team that had finished last in 2012 and had a new coach.

The Eagles took a 17-3 lead in the early second quarter before the Seminoles bounced back into the game by tying up the game. Right before the half, while the game was still tied, FSU quarterback Jameis Winston launched a Hail Mary just as the last seconds of the first half expired to put the team up 24-17. From that point on, FSU outplayed the Eagles, but the game was undoubtedly close for the first half. It was especially exciting to see the Eagles surprise an undefeated FSU team that went into the game thinking it would steamroll BC. 

 

No 9. USC 2014 Win

Boston College vs. No. 9 University of Southern California is a game that will go down as one of the greatest days in recent BC sports history. Alumni was buzzing with energy—everyone could feel that something special was going to happen that night. It was the first annual Red Bandana Game in Alumni, two days after the 13th anniversary of 9/11. The game was played in honor of American hero and BC alumnus Welles Remy Crowther, who saved as many as 12 people in the South Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City and died trying to save more. As SuperFans walked into Alumni, they were handed red bandanas, the symbol of Welles' story. The Boston College football team also wore a special red bandana uniform.

Despite the atmosphere, the odds were stacked against the Eagles. USC was ranked No. 9 while BC remained unranked. In the 2013 season, the Eagles were flattened by USC, 35-7. All the commentators told BC fans not to hold their breath. However, the Eagles’ will to win should have never been discounted.

What happened that night blew everyone away. The Eagles ran the ball repeatedly past the Trojans’ defense, relying on their running strength, the energy of the crowd and the sheer significance of the game to finish the game 37-31. The students stormed the field, waving their red bandanas in the air. It was the first time the Boston College football team had beaten a top-ten team since 2002 versus Notre Dame.

 

No 24. Clemson 2014 Loss

No. 24 Clemson vs Boston College in 2014 was another heartbreaker. The Eagles lost the game 17-13, losing in the fourth quarter after attaining a lead of 13-10 with 4:38 left to play. BC had hopes of going 2-0 against top 25 teams, but couldn’t quite pull through.

While it certainly felt like the Eagles should have won this game, the team showed improvement over a 24-14 loss in 2013, another time in which Clemson—ranked No. 3 in 2013—narrowly defeated the Eagles in the fourth quarter.

 

No. 3. FSU 2014 Loss

FSU has gone undefeated against Boston College since 2009, when Boston College last hosted ESPN Gameday. Legendary linebacker and BC alumnus Mark Herzlich whipped SuperFans into a frenzy when he announced he had beaten Ewing’s Sarcoma. The atmosphere in Alumni was electric.

FSU, a team that had won a national championship in 2013 and also had a Heisman-winning quarterback, had also been undefeated in the regular season since beginning the 2013-2014 season. The Eagles played the Seminoles with every ounce of strength they had, though in the end, it wasn’t quite enough. The Eagles went into the 4th quarter tied 17-17 but lost in the last seven seconds of the game by a field goal.

Even though this was a disappointing loss, it shows how incredibly well the Eagles can play when they push themselves, and how much better the team has become in the past two years under Addazio’s leadership. We narrowly missed upsetting the No. 3 team who went on to the playoffs and had been undefeated for two straight years in the regular season. We weren't even ranked.

Penn State 2014 Loss

The New Era Pinstripe Bowl was a huge game for the Eagles. Ultimately, BC ended up with a stinging defeat, losing in the last seconds of overtime. The Eagles were stunned after blowing the lead and missing their eighth extra point of the season. BC, in the third quarter, was ahead 21-7 and definitely looked like it deserved the win. However, Penn State was able to claw its way back into the game.

No doubt this loss hurt, but with that said, it's important to put everything into perspective. SuperFans may have been disappointed, but only a two short years beforehand, in 2012, BC was ranked dead last in the ACC and had a 2-10 season. This Penn State loss was only a part of the second year of the Addazio era of rebuilding the team.

 

No. 9 FSU 2015 Loss

The circumstances around Friday’s game were similar to both those in 2009 vs. FSU and 2014 vs. USC. The game was the second annual Red Bandana Game at Alumni Stadium and Boston College, once again, hosted ESPN, this time for a special edition of SportsCenter. Most students who attended last year’s game honoring of Welles Crowther were filled with memories of rushing the field in the wake of a spectacular upset and an exhibition of everything the Eagles can overcome when they face a challenge.

Emotions were running high—most SuperFans had unreasonably high hopes for a win. Despite an incredible show of strength and skill by the Eagles' defense and a close game right up to the final moments, the Eagles fell in the end. FSU scored early in the first quarter but could not keep its momentum. The game was a deadlock at 7-0 with FSU leading until there was only 12:30 left in the game, when FSU's recovered the BC's turnover during a running play and scored its final touchdown. As if shattering the Eagles' 2-0 record wasn't enough, only a couple minutes later, Boston College quarterback Darius Wade was sacked and had his ankle broken; he will be out for the rest of the season. This game left every SuperFan with a bad taste in his or her mouth with regard to the frustration of yet another near-upset against a bitter rival. FSU only had 22 more yards on offense than BC.

 

The Point

In light of what happened Friday, many fans may now be frustrated. However, remember that in 2012, the Boston College football team only won two games and was walloped by USC, FSU, Clemson and Notre Dame, who were all ranked that year. The fact that the team was able to beat USC in 2014 and then hold FSU and Clemson to the the very end for two years in a row speaks volumes about how far the Eagles have come. While the team’s future is less certain now with Darius’ injury, fans can still look forward to matchups against Northern Illinois, Clemson and Notre Dame later this year. No doubt these games will be tough, especially without Wade, but the Eagles and Addazio have proven that they can step up when facing tough opponents.

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