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Boston College Football: All-Time History Vs. Big Ten Opponents

Part of Northwestern preview week.

As part of Northwestern week, I wanted to take a look at BC football's all-time history against the B1G Ten. As it turns out, Boston College doesn't exactly have the best track record against Big Ten Conference opponents. The Eagles are 10 up, 29 down and 1 tie all-time against the current conference membership of the Big Ten (BC has never faced Nebraska).

Here's a look at the Eagles all-time records against Big Ten teams, courtesy of the College Football Data Warehouse:

Team GP Win Loss Tie Pct. PF PA Delta
Penn St. Nittany Lions 23 4 19 0 0.174 393 653 -260
Michigan St. Spartans 6 4 1 1 0.750 124 85 39
Michigan Wolverines 4 0 4 0 0.000 66 112 -46
Northwestern Wildcats 3 1 2 0 0.333 70 67 3
Ohio St. Buckeyes 3 0 3 0 0.000 45 103 -58
Indiana Hoosiers 1 1 0 0 1.000 14 0 14
Totals 40 10 29 1 0.263 712 1,020 -308

Again, not exactly the best track record against football programs that currently make up the B1G Ten Conference. Eight of BC's ten wins all-time have come against either Michigan State (4-1-1) or Penn State (4-19). Still, even with some slim pickings, we still manage to rank the top 5 greatest BC victories over now Big Ten Opponents.

NOTE: We're gonna go ahead and exclude BC's 14-0 victory over Indiana and the Eagles' 18-6 and 34-20 victories over Michigan State since those games were played in the Stone Age (read: roughly 65+ years ago.)


5. Boston College 49, Northwestern 0 (September 12, 1992, Chestnut Hill, Mass.) -- After opening the season with a 37-20 home victory over Rutgers, the Eagles followed that up with a 49-0 pasting of Gary Barnett's Northwestern Wildcats in Chestnut Hill. Now while this victory was against a Northwestern team that was still a few years away from back-to-back Big Ten titles and trips to the Rose Bowl in 1995 and 1996, anytime you drop 49 on a Big Ten opponent and also hold them scoreless, it's a pretty good win.

The Eagles would go on to a perfect 3-0 victory over now Big Ten opponents during the 1992 season, also knocking off Michigan State and Penn State (then an independent).

4. Boston College 27, #25 Penn State 17 (September 6, 2003, State College, PA) -- There are few things in college football more exhilarating than witnessing 106,445 Nittany Lion faithful silenced after the first 15 minutes of a college football game. But that's exactly what happened on September 6, 2003 in a game between BC and Penn State (a game for which Jeff and I made the pilgrimage to Happy Valley).

Boston College QB Quinton Porter threw 2 first quarter touchdown passes, and RB Horace Dodd scored from one yard out to give the Eagles an early 21-0 lead after the first quarter. A Sandro Sciortino 31-yard field goal made it 24-0 early in the second quarter, taking the crowd out of it and giving Penn State it's largest deficit to start a game since Miami hung 31 on the Nittany Lions in the 2001 opener.

While BC's 2003 season didn't exactly get off to the best of starts -- a wild 32-28 loss to Wake Forest in the season opener -- the Eagles were able to rebound by notching only the program's second ever win in State College. 

3. #14 Boston College 24, Michigan State 21 (December 28, 2007, Champs Sports Bowl, Orlando, FL) -- The win wasn't great so much for the opponent -- Sparty came into the Champs Sports Bowl at a pedestrian 7-5 (3-5 Big Ten) -- but rather for its significance to the BC program. The Eagles victory over Michigan State down in Orlando marked only the second time in school history the team hit the 11-win mark, and was the first time since the 1940 season. Matt Ryan, Jamie Silva and the Eagles seniors would go on to graduate as the winningest class in program history (39 wins, 12 losses).

2. #19 Boston College 27, Penn State 17 (October 29, 1983, Foxboro, Mass.) -- Boston College's 27-17 victory over Penn State in 1983 not only gave the Eagles a 6-1 record overall and a #16 ranking in the following week's AP poll, but it also gave the Eagles the program's first ever win over Penn State. Flutie finished the game passing 24-43 for 380 yards in the victory. Game recap from Sports Illustrated:

"On defense the Eagles blitzed on nearly every play. "We got burned badly once [on a 42-yard touchdown run by freshman D.J. Dozier]," said BC Coach Jack Bicknell, "but we thought this would help us stay loose." On offense the Eagles used Tailback Troy Stradford as a decoy on pass routes to clear out acreage for Split End Brian Brennan. The strategy worked perfectly as Brennan ended up with 12 catches for 172 yards-and one assist. That came on a 25-yard pass from Quarterback Doug Flutie that skipped off Brennan's hands eight yards downfield to Stradford, who scampered 42 yards down the left sideline for the Eagles' second TD. "Troy and I were rehearsing that thing all week," said Brennan."

The Eagles would go on to beat Army, Holy Cross and Alabama to finish the 1983 season with a 9-2 regular season record. BC would lose to Notre Dame 19-18 in the Liberty Bowl. Tear.

1. #20 Boston College 35, #9 Penn State 32 (October 17, 1992, State College, Pa.) -- On October 17, 1992, the #20 ranked Eagles went into Happy Valley and upset the 9th ranked Penn State Nittany Lions. This game simply had it all. The Eagles jumped out to a 35-10 lead in the third quarter after QB Glenn Foley completed his fourth TD pass of the afternoon. Some Penn State fans even left early, missing the Nittany Lions furious comeback. Penn State quarterback John Sacca led Penn State on an 80-yard drive to cut the deficit to 35-24 before leaving the game with an injured collarbone. Enter Kerry Collins (you may have heard of this guy), who marched the Penn State offense 90 yards down the field to score a TD and a two-point conversion to cut the lead to 35-32 with less than two minutes remaining.

After a successful onside kick, Collins tried to hit WR O.J. McDuffie -- who finished the game with 11 catches, 212 yards (both school records at the time) -- BC cornerback Joe Kamara picked off the pass, giving the Eagles the victory. After the game, Kamara dedicated his game-winning interception to Eagles defensive back Jay McGillis, who died of leukemia earlier that summer. The Eagles would jump from 20 to 11 in the AP poll, and after victories over Tulane and Temple, would lose 54-7 to 8th ranked Notre Dame in the "Lou Holtz run up the score" game.

The money lede from SI's William F. Reed's in his game writeup entitled The Soaring Eagles (emphasis added):

"It would be easy to look at Boston College's 35-32 upset of Penn State in State College and figure that the Nittany Lions are lucky that they're headed for the Big Ten-a conference with more cream puffs than your neighborhood bakery. It also would be easy to look at the Eagles' victory and wonder how long it will take the 2-4 New York Giants to dial up BC coach Tom Coughlin, who was a Giant assistant from 1988 to '90, to request his services once again. But that's not how people should look at the Boston College-Penn State game. Everyone, even the Lions' crestfallen fans, should view the game as an advertisement for college football at its heart-stopping, gut-wrenching, emotion-tugging best."