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Friday Flashback: Boston College 6 Harvard 6 - November 14, 1943

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The 2015 Eagles have a bye, but we look back at the only "result" Boston College has ever gotten against Harvard

Eddie Doherty leads Eagles vs Crimson
Eddie Doherty leads Eagles vs Crimson
CoachJF Archives

In the early days of college football few programs achieved the success of the Harvard Crimson.  From the inception of football in Cambridge in 1874 through 1920, Harvard played and conquered their schedule the way few ever have.  The Crimson were playing schedules in excess of 11 games per season on a regular basis.  Never lost more than four games in a single season and went undefeated 13 times.

The Ivies were both academic and football royalty at that time.  The record of the Crimson against specific opponents is downright amazing. They hold victories over modern day giants such as Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Penn State, Texas and Oregon in the 1920 Rose Bowl, the only bowl game in their history.

That 1919 season was just the second time that BC would face Harvard.  The Eagles went 5-3 that year under the Iron Major, Frank Cavanaugh, but dropped a 17-0 decision to the mighty Crimson. Their second consecutive defeat to Harvard, the first coming the previous season in what was deemed an "informal" season by the Crimson due to war time restrictions.

The two schools would not meet again until 1943 season, also noted by Harvard as an informal one, when the Eagles would notch their only minor success in the series, tying the Crimson 6-6 at what even then, was venerable Harvard Stadium.

The Eagles were a replacement for Yale in the 1943 season, due to the aforementioned war time travel restrictions and a crowd of 45,000, at that time one of the top 10 crowds ever to see BC play, packed into Cambridge to catch the contest.

Harvard entered the game at 2-2, while BC was 4-0, having just defeated a squad from Rome (NY) Air Force, 64-0 the previous week.

BC was lead by Coach Moody Sarno and captain/QB Eddie Doherty from Andover, MA, who would eventually wind up facing his alma mater in the early 70s as coach of the Holy Cross Crusaders.

The game was reminiscent of the times and distinctly anti modern day Big 12, with the teams exchanging punts.  The Crimson drove inside the Eagle 20 only to be stopped by Doherty on downs.  There were numerous turnovers for both teams, until with about four minutes left in the 2nd quarter, the Eagles completed their only pass of the game with Doherty hitting Salem, MA's David Hoar for the deepest penetration of the game by BC into Harvard territory, only to be thwarted and the game sent to the half tied at zero.

Early in the second half, Doherty was injured and with BC's depth in question, there were serious doubts about their ability to compete with Harvard, that's when a 17 year old freshman quarterback from BC High who only wound up playing one season of football at the Heights, took center stage.

Charlie McCoy, lead the Eagles on multiple drives in the second half, reaching the the Crimson 7 yard line and then the 30 yard line on successive series, although unable to score. The BC defense did its part and also held firm and gave Doherty time to shake off his injury and return to the lineup.

Medford's David Aznavourian, ran for six yards, Bill Morro for nine more until Morro, the Providence native, whose brother had been an Eagle captain during the 1941 season, took it in from nine yards out, with paving blocks from guard Pete Baleyko and tackle Bill McCarthy, to give BC a 6-0 lead.

The Eagles would miss the conversion.

The BC defense would wear down in the fourth quarter against the bigger and deeper Crimson team.  Harvard would drive 64 yards in 15 plays to tie the game. Baleyko with help from McCoy then salvaged the tie for BC by blocking the extra point.

In the game's waning moments Morro intercepted a Harvard pass and appeared headed for the win only to be tackled short of the end zone and the game ended in a 6-6 tie.

This was not an offensive masterpiece. BC outgained the Crimson 154 to 148, while Harvard had an 8-7 edge in first downs, distinctly Eagles 2015.

The 1943 team, despite playing only five games was lauded as one of the greatest in BC history, finishing with a 4-0-1 record.  Doherty, the team's unquestioned star, would be rewarded by being named to the 1944 East-West Shrine game for

BC and Harvard would play again in 1944, due to the same travel issue that created the 1943 contest, with Harvard prevailing 13-0 and then never play again. The tie being the closest BC has ever and may ever, get to a win, trailing the series 0-3-1.

Boston College on November 14

  • 1896 - W - at Boston College 8 Holy Cross 6 - South End Grounds
  • 1908 - W - Boston College 11 at St Anselm's 0
  • 1914 - L - at Holy Cross 10 Boston College 0
  • 1925 - L - Wesleyan 7 at Boston College 6
  • 1930 - W - Boston College 19 at Loyola, Ill 0
  • 1931 - W - at Boston College 7 Centre College 0 - Fenway Park
  • 1938 - W - at Boston College 12 Western Maryland 7
  • 1942 - W - at #3 Boston College 56  Fordham 6 - Fenway Park
  • 1943 - T - Boston College 6 at Harvard 6
  • 1959 - L - at Boston University 26 Boston College 7
  • 1970 - W  - Boston College 21 at Pittsburgh 6
  • 1981 - L - at Syracuse 27 Boston College 17
  • 1987 - L - at #6 Syracuse 45 Boston College 17
  • 1992 - L -  Syracuse 27 #10 at Boston College 10 - Alumni Stadium
  • 1998 - W - at Boston College 23 Pittsburgh 15
  • 2009 - W - Boston College 14 at Virginia 10

Overall Record: 9 wins 6 losses 1 tie

  • Home: 5 wins 2 losses
  • Away:  4 wins 4 losses 1 tie
  • As Ranked Team:  1 win 1 loss
  • Against Ranked Team: 0 wins 1 loss