Hostile Grounds

Eagles not scared of Hurricanes

In 1984 Boston College defeated Miami in one of the greatest college football games ever played. The game, coined “Hail Flutie” after BC quarterback Doug Flutie completed a 60-yard, last-second pass to beat the ‘Canes, would end up being the last time that UM lost to BC.
Miami has won the last 13 meetings between these two teams, but it seems that every time the ‘Canes head up to Chestnut Hill almost anything can happen. When the two teams meet this Saturday at 7:45, expect nothing less than another thriller.
“Up there it’s just been a crazy game,” Head Coach Larry Coker said.
“Crazy” might be an understatement regarding what has happened when the ‘Canes visit Bean Town.
During the Hurricanes’ 2001 national championship season, their biggest scare came against a scrappy BC team that almost played the role of David to UM’s Goliath. Due to the heroics of Mike Rumph’s knee, which deflected a goal-line pass into Matt Walter’s arms, which Ed Reed then stole and returned for a touchdown, UM eked out a heart-stopping 18-7 win.
The three trips to BC prior to the 2001 game ended with margins of three points or less each time. In ’99 UM staged their largest comeback ever and in ’97 the ‘Canes prevailed in the Big East’s first ever overtime game.
If a trip to BC doesn’t seem exciting enough then add in the fact that the Hurricanes may never go back. This game marks the beginning of Miami’s Big East farewell tour since they will join the ACC along with Virginia Tech next season.
“I hope it’s the victory tour. I really haven’t thought about it being a final tour. It’s going to be a tough tour. We’ve just got to play well and get started at Boston College,” Coker said.
By the way, BC fans probably aren’t too happy about the ‘Canes leaving the Big East and, along with it, the Eagles’ football future hanging in the balance. But UM doesn’t seem concerned about fans.
“Fans are going to be fans,” offensive lineman Vernon Carey said. “We’ve got to take them out of the game and then they won’t have anything to say.”
The hostile environment combined with a team looking to beat the ‘Canes for the first time in 19 years could spell disaster if UM doesn’t bring everything they have. The upset bug has already spread to many of the top teams and BC could have the right recipe to upset UM in their last league meeting.
Boston College features a dangerous running attack led by a huge offensive line and shifty running back Derrick Knight, who leads the Big East in rushing.
“We know we have a tremendous challenge at BC,” Coker said. “They’re very physical and they have very large offensive and defensive linemen and they run well on defense. Derrick Knight, their running back, speaks for himself.”
Knight’s stats are impressive, having rushed for 2,480 yards in his career and 157 yards per game this season. If Boston College comes out on top after Saturday, Knight could use this game as a stepping-stone to the Heisman, the way Flutie used the “Hail Mary” to vault himself into the lead for the coveted trophy.
After losing the season opener to an upstart Wake Forest squad, the Eagles went into hostile Happy Valley and manhandled Penn State. Last week they beat a much-improved Connecticut team.
If BC wins this game it would send them well into the top 25 rankings and give them a good chance at winning the Big East and earning a BCS Bowl birth. However, Miami is not just traveling to Boston for the seafood. They need this win just as much as BC.
“I don’t think it’s just another road game. It’s a very important road game for us because it is a league game,” Coker said. “If we’re going to be a good football team we have to handle it.”

Nate Johnson can be reached at