Katherine McCabe / Gavel Media

The History of the Holy War

This Saturday at Alumni Stadium will be a special day for all Boston College students, as the annual tradition of honoring Welles Crowther in the Red Bandana Game continues with the Eagles facing off against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish for the 26th time in series history in this year’s Holy War. 

The “Holy War” between the Eagles and the Irish began on September 15, 1975, at Foxboro Stadium in Massachusetts where the Irish clinched the first win for the decades-long rivalry. The series continued in Memphis, Tennessee in 1983 and then in South Bend, Indiana for the next three games in the series. 

Boston College and Notre Dame didn’t meet at Chestnut Hill until 1994 when Alumni expanded capacity to fit over 40,000 fans. The 1994 matchup also saw the largest margin of victory for BC in the series, 19 points, with a 30-11 win over the Irish.  

Some of the most notable wins for Boston College throughout the Holy War include matchups in 1993, 2002, and 2008. 

Before the 1993 Holy War, Notre Dame was ranked No.1 in the country after a victory over Florida State a week prior to playing BC. 

In the game against BC, the Irish were behind by 21 points in the fourth quarter before making a comeback to allow the team to lead by only one point. With a four-yard touchdown and a 41-yard field goal, Boston College earned their first-ever victory over Notre Dame with a narrow 41-39 win. 

Notre Dame continued their winning streak for the next four games until 2002, which marked the next time that BC beat Notre Dame since the 1994 victory on the Heights. The Irish dropped an ugly 14-7 game to the Eagles who were 4-3 at the time. 

The Eagles won the next three games against the Irish and then in 2008, the Eagles recorded their first shutout in the series’ history with a 17-0 victory over the Irish. The win was BC’s sixth straight against Notre Dame and ended up tying the series at nine wins for each team. 

One of the most recent games in the series, and the last time the Eagles played the Irish at Alumni Stadium, was in 2017 where BC lost the 24th Holy War to Notre Dame 49-20. The game included notable BC alumni such as Harold Landry and Lukas Denis with former head coach Steve Addazio coaching the team. 

The Eagles and the Irish, the only Catholic institutions in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), play for the Frank Leahy Memorial Bowl. The bowl is named after former Boston College coach Frank Leahy who led the Eagles from 1939 to 1940 before leaving the Heights for a job at Notre Dame in 1941. 

Boston College is 4-6 all-time at home versus Notre Dame and will be searching for a first win at home since the 17-0 victory in 2008. The Irish currently lead the all-time series with a 16-9 advantage as they are currently riding a 7-game winning streak over the Eagles. Saturday’s game will also mark the first time that BC quarterback Phil Jurkovec will play against Notre Dame, since transferring to the Heights in January after two seasons with the Irish. 

The Gavel wishes the best of luck to the Eagles this weekend and that we finally break the 7-game winning streak that the Irish currently hold. 

Be sure to follow @BCGavelSports for all of the latest updates on Boston College athletics.



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Lillie Clifton