Boston College Bowl Flashback: 1939 Cotton Bowl Vs. Clemson

Tom Pennington

#9 on our bowl countdown is Boston College's first bowl game, the 1939 Cotton Bowl vs. Clemson.

Between Dec. 16 and Dec. 31, BC Interruption will be taking a look back at the top 10 bowl games Boston College has appeared in, leading up to the Eagles matchup with Arizona in the AdvoCare V100 'Independence' Bowl.

1939 Cotton Bowl - Clemson 6, Boston College 3

Boston College made its bowl game debut way back in 1939 under then-first year head coach Frank Leahy. I was not alive. Neither were you, probably.

A few days after he was installed as the Eagles head coach, Leahy told alumni "I have come here to succeed and to win football games ... I did not come to BC to fail." Leahy did just that, winning 20 of 22 games played over the next two seasons.

The Eagles only blemish during the 1939 regular season was a 7-0 loss to Florida in Boston. BC would rebound by winning the last seven games of the regular season, including wins over Auburn (13-7), Boston U. (19-0), Kansas State (38-7) and arch-rival Holy Cross (14-0) in front of 40,432 at Fenway Park to finish the regular season with a 9-1 mark.

Boston College earned a trip to the Cotton Bowl to take on Clemson, becoming the first New England team in 20 years to earn a New Year's Day bowl invitation. You know, back when playing on January 1 actually meant something.

In a matchup of the 11th and 12th ranked teams in the nation, Boston College lost a close game to Clemson, 6-3. The Eagles took a 3-0 lead on Alex Lukachik's 36-yard field goal in the second quarter, but Clemson answered on the next possession when Charley Timmons ran the ball in for a score. Shad Bryant's extra point was no good and that was all the scoring in this one.

The Eagles threatened late, but Clemson's Banks McFadden knocked down three Charlie O'Rourke passes in the end zone in the fourth quarter, and a late fourth-quarter BC drive stalled on the 8-yard line. Fun trivia fact: Boston College and Clemson now play for the O'Rourke-McFadden Trophy, created in 2008 to honor the legacy of these two players that squared off in the 1939 Cotton Bowl.

BC's two losses to Florida and Clemson in 1939 were notable for the player that did not suit up in either of those games -- star running back Lou "Lightning Lou" Montgomery. Montgomery, a Brockton-native and the school's first African American athlete, was subjected to a "Gentlemen's agreement" that force him to sit on the sidelines for games down South and even some at BC.

There's obviously no video of this game, so you are left with the box score and your imagination to reconstruct BC's "barnburner" of a first bowl game.

SCORING SUMMARY
Clemson -- 0 6 0 0 - 6
Boston College -- 0 3 0 0 - 3

SECOND QUARTER

BC - 36 FG Alex LUKACHIK. Drive: 4 plays, 0 yards. Score: Boston College 3, Clemson 0.
CU - Charley TIMMONS 1 run (Shad Bryant kick failed). Drive: 9 plays, 57 yards. Score: Clemson 6, Boston College 3.

STATS
Team Statistics CU BC
First Downs 11 9
Total Net Yds 239 184
Net Yds Rushing 204 111
Net Yds Passing 35 73
Interceptions 2 1
Penalties 8-80 8-90
Fumbles-Lost 5-3 3-2

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