Before anyone asks, no, contrary to popular belief, I did not see the September 26, 1947 game at Braves Field between BC and Clemson, so unlike many of the games featured in this section over the last few years, it required a lot of research not only to make sure the details were correct, but just to understand what happened in the game period.
What it did force me to do though is remember that most of what I get a chance to write about here happened before some of you were born and in most cases, long before you became BC football fans, so I definitely got a deeper appreciation of the reader's perspective.
If we have any readers who were at that game some 68 years ago, certainly feel free to add in your own recollections!
Denny Myers was originally hired by Boston College from Brown in 1941, where he served as a line coach, to replace Frank Leahy, when the Leahy moved from Chestnut Hill to South Bend to take the reigns of his alma mater, ultimately leading Notre Dame to five national titles.
The 1940 season saw BC finish 11-0 under Leahy and lay claim to their only national championship which was officially won by Minnesota. Myers proceeded to follow up that undefeated season with a 7-3 record in 1941 and then a magical 1942 season where BC ascended to #1 in the national poll for the only time in its history. The Eagles were there exactly one week and needed only to defeat 4-4-1 Holy Cross at Fenway Park to finish the regular season unbeaten and see their second title in three years (this one official) within reach.
As most know, that title never happened. The Eagles were upset, bombarded actually, by the Crusaders 55-12 and then lost their Orange Bowl game to Alabama to finish 8-2. The Holy Cross game though will be more famously remembered for the post game victory party that never happened that night at the Cocoanut Grove nightclub where 492 perished in the most devastating fire in Boston history.
Myers then left BC to join the Navy and was replace for three seasons by Moody Sarno. Following the war, Myers returned, still the only coach in BC history to serve two separate tenures.
His 1946 team finished 6-3 and actually drew just about as many fans per game (just over 33,000) as the 2014 Eagles did.
On September 26, in the '47 season opener, Clemson took advantage of a roughing the kicker call to jump out on top 6-0, missing the PAT. BC got their first score of the season on Ed Songin run. The Eagles tacked on the extra point and lead 7-6.
BC stretched the lead to 13-6 as an Ed Clasby reception of a Songin pass lead to Bob Palladino six yard TD run.
Clemson would answer though early in the 2nd quarter on a 30 yard TD pass and after forcing an Eagle fumble at the CU 48 found themselves ahead 22-13 courtesy of a 52 yard Bob Gage to Bobby Williams pass that reads as if were a designed screen pass.
Down at the half, BC turned to "Little Joe" Diminick. First, the 165 lb. Diminick, playing both ways of course, picked off a Gage pass and returned it 50 yards to set up his own 15 yard touchdown carry to get the Eagles to within 22-19. The teams apparently had a much trouble with kicks in 1947 as BC did in 2014!
Shortly thereafter Diminick scored on a 7 yard carry to give BC a 25-22 lead and finally put the game away carrying four times for 51 yards during a 10 play, 75 yard drive leading to a Jim Benedetto game clinching TD.
Diminick clearly was the game's number one star, gaining 171 yards on 17 carries, while the Eagle D held the Tigers to minus 1 net yard rushing.
Some great names in Eagle history appeared in the game. Ernie Stautner, Butch Songin, Art Donovan, Art Spinney, Clasby and Diminick among others, are all in the BC Hall of Fame. Donovan and Stautner have their busts permanently enshrined in Canton, Ohio as members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
BC would finish the 1947 season 5-4, playing one of the most bizarre collection of opponents imaginable by today's standards. Beside Clemson, the Eagles played Kansas State, LSU, Tennessee and Wake Forest, but also Villanova, St Mary's, Holy Cross and Georgetown. Eight of those nine were played at Braves Field which served as the primary home of the team from 1946-52.
Denny Myers second go round would not yield nearly the results of the first and in 1950 following an 0-9-1 season he would be fired.
September 26 Notes:
BC is 6-5-1 overall on September 26. 6-1-1 at home (1-0-1 at Fenway Park, 2-0 at Braves Field - Nickerson Field at BU for those unfamiliar, 3-0 at Alumni Stadium and 0-1 at the old Foxboro Stadium) and 0-3 on the road, versus ranked teams (0-3), as a ranked team (1-0).
- 1931- Fenway Park - BC 26 Catholic University 7
- 1947 - Braves Field - BC 32 Clemson 22
- 1952 - Braves Field - BC 14 Richmond 7
- 1953 - Fenway Park - BC 14 Clemson 14
- 1959 - West Point - #7 Army 44 BC 8
- 1964 - West Point - Army 19 BC 13
- 1970 - Alumni Stadium - BC 28 Navy 14
- 1981 - Chapel Hill - #9 North Carolina 56 BC 14
- 1987 - Foxboro Stadium - #15 Penn State 27 BC 17
- 1992 - Alumni Stadium - #25 BC 14 Michigan State 0
- 1998 - Louisville- Louisville 52 BC 28
- 2009 - Alumni Stadium - BC 27 Wake Forest 24 (OT)