In my post-win exuberance on Saturday, I called the 41-34 overtime thriller over Missouri a top-5 experience for me at Alumni Stadium since I started as a student season ticket holder in 2006.
I went back and thought about the games I’ve seen in the 16 seasons since and tried to determine if this was true. Looking back at my favorite Alumni Stadium games since then, it’s hard to say what are the ‘top 5,’ but there are definitely 10 that stand out - and Saturday’s game was one of them.
In chronological order:
1 - September 9, 2006 - BC 34, Clemson 33, 2OT
2 - September 16, 2006 - BC 30, BYU 23, OT
I take these two together because they were my first home game experiences as a BC student, and in retrospect I should have been more upset over setting such an incredibly high bar for the first two games that could never be cleared.
Overtime winners... Matt Ryan... quality opponents... 40,000+ attendance. Two glorious fall Saturdays. The Clemson game ended under the lights after a 3:30 start. What could be better than that?
Clemson scored a touchdown to take the lead in 2OT, but Jolonn Dunbar came up with the block on the extra point to set BC up to win it:
The following week we had Sean McDonough on the call and won after a review in OT:
3 - September 1, 2007 - BC 38, Wake Forest 28
As amazing as the 2007 season was, most of the highly memorable moments happened on the road. I’d argue probably the top 3 or 4 moments of the season took place away from Alumni.
But the magic did start with the home opener. It was the first game of the Jags era, and in my 19-year-old exuberance I was sure that Jags and Steve Logan could help take Matt Ryan to the next level.
The enthusiasm was short-lived when BC fell behind 14-0, but the Eagles gave an early sign of the swagger and fearlessness that would define the Jags era, roaring back to take the win, with Matt Ryan throwing for 5 touchdowns on the day.
Two years of watching Matt Ryan sling the ball around the field really spoiled all of us. We’ve been waiting a long, long time for anything quite like it.
4 - November 8, 2008: BC 17, Notre Dame 0
This wound up being the last in our much-celebrated lengthy winning streak over Notre Dame, and it was just phenomenal - BC dominated the Irish in all three phases of the game, it was a night game, the crowd was rocking... I think this was the first time I can remember the students staying long after the game and ‘encore’-ing the band into a long postgame performance.
5 - November 29, 2008: BC 28, Maryland 21
BC’s defense of the Atlantic Division title in 2008 was kind of weird - it started with the first in a long, long line of trying to find the heir to Matt Ryan, with Chris Crane settling in to the role despite being pushed early by Dominique Davis (who, remarkably, is still playing professional football in the CFL for the Ottawa RedBlacks).
BC’s ACC record sat at 2-3 and the ACCCG hopes looked dim, but back to back wins at Florida State and Wake Forest opened the back door to the title game. Chris Crane got hurt during the win at Wake, meaning Dominique Davis would have to steer BC past the Terps - and he did, guiding the Eagles to a 28-21 win.
What I remember about this game is that it was cold and sparsely populated (Thanksgiving break) but one of those games where everyone there was wildly in to it.
Billy Flutie threw for a touchdown on a fake field goal, which wound up being the difference.
6 - October 3, 2009: BC 28, Florida State 21
This day started with BC hosting College GameDay in the Dust Bowl and Mark Herzlich announcing he was cancer free.
It ended with Montel Harris rushing for a late touchdown to lead the Eagles to a big, emotional win over Florida State.
7 - September 13, 2014 - BC 37, USC 31
If my first two games as a student set an unrealistically high bar, my first seasons as an alum - the Decline and Fall of Spaz - set a low bar. It felt like it would be a long time before Alumni Stadium would light up with joy the way it did on some of those memoriable nights listed above.
I actually remember being on the T on the way to the USC game and thinking that when BC signed the home-and-home with the Trojans, I figured we would give them a run for their money, because we signed it while we were still riding high. Now, I figured we were probably going to get smoked- just as we did the previous year in LA.
And then Tyler Murphy and Sherman Alston delivered what is still my favorite home game.
You know the story by now, but there’s just still so much to unpack every time I think about this one. BC fell behind early but came back with electric offense. The Crowther family was there, and it was an extra special Red Bandana game so close to the anniversary of 9/11. The fans stormed the field. Tyler Murphy had his game-clinching moment, which still gives me goosebumps when I watch it to this day.
This still stands the test of time as my favorite home game, even though USC wound up being kind of lousy that year, and this was not, as we hoped, a launching pad to a long and glorious run for Daz. But it was still a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I’m so grateful I was there for it.
8 - October 27, 2017 - BC 35, Florida State 3
2017 was a pretty lousy year for home games. We went 2-4 at home, and one of the home wins was against Central Michigan.
But there was a brief, three-week stretch where it “came together and was beautiful” (shortly after Daz delivered those famous remarks after BC’s 2-4 start).
The Eagles inexplicably became an offensive juggernaut for exactly three weeks, beating Louisville 45-42, lighting up Virginia 41-10, and then laying an absolute beatdown on Florida State, 35-3, on a Friday Night ‘red bandana game’ on ESPN to improve to 5-4.
In terms of comprehensive beat downs at home of quality, power 5 opponents, this was probably the most thorough I can remember, along with the aforementioned 17-0 win over Notre Dame.
This whole night honestly almost feels like a fever dream. BC ran a double-reverse with Jeff Smith bombing a touchdown pass to Kobay White to open it up, and it was off to the races from there.
This was the night the “Mr. Brightside” tradition was born as the crowd went so nuts when it was played that they ended up putting it on the PA two or three more times over the course of the night.
9 - August 31, 2019 - BC 35, Virginia Tech 28
There were high hopes going in to what ended up being Steve Addazio’s final season, with Anthony Brown at the helm and AJ Dillon leading a strong running game.
While the high hopes of a 2005-2008-caliber season basically burst on week 3 against Kansas, for one glorious week it did feel like the Eagles were on that path when they outdueled Virginia Tech 35-28 on a beautiful Labor Day weekend to open up the season- BC’s highest-profile home opener since that wild 2007 win over Wake.
Brown threw for 275 yards, Dillon found the end zone, and the Eagles survived a strong second half by VT to hang on for the win.
10 - September 25, 2021 - BC 41, Missouri 34 - OT
And then there was Saturday - BC’s first overtime win in a game with fans in the stands at Alumni Stadium since 2009. You just saw it, you remember it, but hey, let’s enjoy it again.
Even now that I’ve moved past immediate recency bias, I am quite sure this was my favorite home game in 7 years, and very easily a top 10 game.
I know many of you have been going to games for a lot longer than us - which were your favorites?