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The Video Archives: #1 Miami 19 Boston College 14 (1991)

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The game that turned the corner for BC football under Tom Coughlin

BC's near upset of #1 Miami highlights Tom Coughlin's first season
BC's near upset of #1 Miami highlights Tom Coughlin's first season
CoachJF Archives

Welcome to the 3rd installment of the BC sports video archive series. Every month from September through March, I will post one of the many old game videos from either Boston College football or basketball games from the 80s through the 2000s.

This September we revisited the 1992 BC win at Penn State, BC's second victory ever over the Nittany Lions and the first ever in Happy Valley. In October, it was BC's first ACC win at Clemson in 2005, now we'll go back to 1991 and check in on a reclamation project.

In 1978, the group Firefall, wrote a song called, "That's a Strange Way To Tell Me You Love Me" and that's what we will do here, looking back at of all things, a BC loss.

In 1991, Boston College hired Tom Coughlin, a wide receivers coach from the Super Bowl champion New York Giants. Coughlin had served time as the BC QB coach under Jack Bicknell and had played at Syracuse under a legendary coach in Ben Schwartzwalder and coached alongside another iron fisted personality with the Giants, Bill Parcells.

Coughlin was a workaholic who hit the ground running as BC's head coach, calling recruits from the Giants' locker room immediately following their Super Bowl victory over the Buffalo Bills. He would not be outworked.

He would demand discipline and instill a work ethic that hasn't been seen in these parts, perhaps ever.

His team, though, would take a while to mature and understand what was being asked of them. Coughlin had replaced his former mentor, Jack Bicknell and their styles could not have been more different.

BC would lose its first four under Coughlin, to Rutgers, #2 Michigan, #17 Georgia Tech and #10 Penn State. Certainly not an easy way to begin a head coaching career. They would ironically get their first win over Louisville 33-3, before falling again to West Virginia to sit at 1-5. Undaunted, the Eagles turned a corner and rifled off three wins to sit at 4-5 before a setback at #17 Syracuse.

In 1991 there would be no bowl bid coming at 5-6 for BC. All they had left to play for was pride and a shot at #1 Miami. These were not the Hurricanes we see today, this was THE U, the bad boys you saw on the ESPN 30 for 30 Special and they had just knocked off #1 Florida State 17-16 (Wide Right I) to take over the nation's top spot. A spot they would hold and claim the National Championship on New Year's Night by beating Nebraska in the Orange Bowl.

BC entered a 3-touchdown underdog and put on a performance I will never forget. I have never been as proud of a BC team as I was that night. The advancement of a team, of a program, was and is unparalleled, even when comparing it to what Steve Addazio did in 2013.

Watch the game...the whole game...til the very end...until Adrian Karsten finishes his interview with Dennis Erickson and Mike Patrick and Mike Godfried, who were the announcing team that night sign off...listen to the crowd...you can feel that a once proud program was on the way back.

I have often called the 1976 win over Texas the Grandfather Win of modern day Boston College football and this one had a lot of those characteristics as well. It emphatically set the tone for the two years that would follow including ultimately the win over #1 Notre Dame in 1993.

Enjoy the game and Go Eagles!!

#1 Miami 19 at Boston College 14 (1991)