Boston College Revisited

What the hell is it about Boston College's Alumni Stadium that gives the Hurricanes fits?

Send the Eagles down south to the Orange Bowl and they're almost always returned home a violated mess, yet up in Chestnut Hill there is always something in the air when Miami comes to town.

You'd have to look as far back as 1975 to find the last Miami loss at Boston College. Even in the 5-6 nightmare season of 1997, the Eagles couldn't find a way against the Canes. Miami escaped with a 45-44 double overtime victory in what many thought to be one of the most exciting contests at Alumni Stadium.

Little did they know what was on the horizon the next two times these teams would meet on BC's home turf.

As if Miami's 1999 come-from-behind victory wasn't enough – the 31-28 victory still ranks as the greatest comeback in school history – the Canes found a way to out do themselves in their eighth game of the 2001 season.

Call it what you will – The Immaculate Interception, The DB With The Golden Knee – either way, when that game clock hit 0:30 in the 4th quarter a season was saved. A legendary moment in the rivalry was born. "Hail Flutie" now ranks #2 in Greatest Moments in Miami vs. Boston College history. We have Ed Reed's dramatic flair to thank for that.

The moment itself remains all too surreal. By far the 20 most dramatic seconds in recent Hurricane memory. The Rumph-Walter-Reed combo was a Godsend. Talk about being the right place at the right time. The planets were definitely all aligned this crisp, Fall Saturday afternoon.

On a day when Ken Dorsey could do almost no right, it was the rest of the Hurricanes who had to dig deep and find a way. It would take an entire team to compensate for #11's four interceptions and zero touchdowns.

Clinton Portis did his part grinding out 160 yards on 36 carries. Todd Sievers kept it between the uprights four times for 12 points. Ethnic Sands had the big catches late in the game where first downs were as important as touchdowns. Even Dorsey – in his worst outing as a Cane – found a way to make the necessary late game completions that would save Miami's season.

Winners find a way to win. So cliche, yet so true. Every National Champion contender or pretender has one game a season that provides a scare – to either serve as a gut check or unwanted dose of reality. The Canes passed their test and never looked back. After the BC scare, Miami went on to demolish their next two opponents by a combined score of 124-7. A quick trip to Virginia Tech for their first victory on Hokie turf since 1992 wrapped up the regular season and the Canes were Pasadena bound.

The 2002 season brings the Eagles back down to the Orange Bowl where they are winless since 1984. Actually, "winless" might be too kind a word. There have been times in this series where one might wonder if Boston College even showed up. Take a mental journey back to that 52-6 beating of 2000. Miami was riding high on a eight game win streak, sported a 9-1 record and was out to convince BCS voters that they indeed deserved the #2 ranking in the land and a shot at Oklahoma. The 26-0 victory at Syracuse the previous week was not enough to keep them ranked ahead of Florida State.

Then again, if a head-to-head victory over the Noles weren't enough, what would be?

Either way, the Canes pulled out all stops. Dorsey was electric with a career high five-touchdowns and 252 yards spread amongst 8 receivers. Santana Moss worked his magic with 5 catches for 64 yards, a reverse for 57 yards and two touchdowns – the latter coming on an 85-yard punt return. A drive later it was Daryl Jones one-upping him with an 87-yard punt return for the final touchdown of the game.

Miami totaled 499 yards on offense to go with their 52 points, but it wasn't enough to sway voters. A shot at a National Championship would remain a year away but the consolation prize came in a 37-20 Sugar Bowl whupping of the loathed and despised Florida Gators.

Boston College had their shot to take down the Canes in Chestnut Hill last season. They blew it. A play away from an upset, the better team stepped up and rectified an afternoon full or errors.

Don't expect the Eagles to be a play away from victory in 2002. Not in the Orange Bowl. They had their 15 minutes in 1984 and haven't come within 16 points of the Canes since. In 2000 they took 52 points unanswered after scoring first.

BC got their SportsCentury highlight clip. Hope they enjoyed it. From here on out they'll assume the role of Hurricane doormat.

Come September 21, 2002 they're first in line for another Miami Hurricane hometown beatdown.

Make sure to get prepared for the season with one of our Humiliating New Gators t-shirts!

Born and raised in Miami, Chris Bello now lives in San Diego, CA and works as a freelance writer. Feel free to send your comments or to contact him for potential writing assignments at cbello@san.rr.com


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