So, Notre Dame just beat the #1 team in the country, out of the ACC? At home? On NBC? What great news! But for older Notre Dame fans, this path seems all to familiar, especially given their next opponent.
In 1993, this was the case as #2 Notre Dame beat #1 Florida State 31-24 at home. The path to a national title seemed smooth as all the Irish had to do was win their last regular season game against #17 Boston College.
The Eagles jumped to a 38-17 lead, thanks to the arm of Glenn Foley, before the Irish scored 22 unanswered in the fourth quarter. Yet, David Gordon etched his name in Boston College and Notre Dame lore, for that matter with a game-winning 41-yard field goal, significantly reducing Notre Dame’s national title hopes. In the end, Florida State won the national title despite losing to Notre Dame.
That’s right, the Irish play Boston College next week at 3:30 on ABC. While this Boston College team will not come into their game with Notre Dame ranked, they have played at that caliber at times. In a rare ABC appearance on Halloween, the Eagles looked like a playoff team against Clemson, who was notably Trevor Lawrence-less. BC jumped to a 28-10 lead, before the Tigers scored 24 unanswered to escape with a 34-28 win.
The Eagles boast one of the more underrated dual threats in Phil Jurkovec, who has accounted for over 2100 yards of offense and 18 TDs in a BC offense that looks rejuvenated in comparison to Steve Addazio’s stodgy offenses.
Their receiving corps is strong as well, with TE Hunter Long and WR Zay Flowers both exceeding 500 receiving yards so far. Like the Clemson game, the upset-minded Eagles will make a game out of this one.
1993 was not the only time the Eagles played spoiler, or came close to doing so. Look as recently as 2015. In the first football game at Fenway since the Boston Patriots’ departure in 1967, a stout Boston College defense forced five turnovers in a close 19-16 loss. Despite the win, the damage was done, as the Irish slipped to #6 in the CFP poll, the following Tuesday.
Or look at 2002, almost as eerily similar to 1993’s game as this weekend’s game. The Irish came in 8-0 and ranked #4 in the AP Poll, following a 34-24 win over none other than #11 Florida State. Despite outgaining the Eagles 357-184, the Irish handed the game to the Eagles thanks to 5 turnovers in a 14-7 loss.
While Notre Dame is fresh off arguably their biggest win since 1993, history shows that they best be careful against a plucky Boston College team. Furthermore, the Eagles will have learned from their failures in their near-upset of Clemson. Whether history repeats itself or not, Saturday’s game should be one of the most interesting on the docket.