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Boston College Bowl Flashback: 1985 Cotton Bowl Classic vs. Houston

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Counting down the top 10 bowl games in Boston College history leading up to the December 31 matchup with Arizona in the AdvoCare V100 'Independence' Bowl.

Tom Pennington

Between Dec. 16 and Dec. 31, BC Interruption will be taking a look back at the top 10 bowl games Boston College has appeared in, leading up to the Eagles matchup with Arizona in the AdvoCare V100 'Independence' Bowl.

1985 Cotton Bowl: Boston College 45, Houston 28

Bowl game #2 in our Boston College top 10 bowl game countdown is the 1985 Cotton Bowl vs. Houston. Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie lead the Eagles to their first postseason Bowl victory in 44 years with a convincing 45-28 victory over Houston at the frigid Cotton Bowl.

Flutie opened the scoring early. On the Eagles' second possession, the Heisman winner connected with Kelvin Marin for a 63-yard touchdown bomb to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead. The 63-yard strike was the longest pass completion of the year for the Eagles. Only minutes later, Flutie made it 14-0 after connecting with Troy Stradford for a eight-yard TD strike.

Before the first half was over, Flutie tied a Cotton Bowl Classic record with three TD passes when he found -- who else, but -- Gerard Phelan for a 13-yard TD strike to put BC up 24-7. The Eagles would take a commanding 31-14 lead to the locker room.

In the third quarter, momentum shifted and Houston drew within three points. With four minutes left in the third quarter, fullback Raymond Tate punched it in from the 2-yard line to cut the Eagles' lead to 31-21. Less than a minute later, Cougars safety Audrey McMillian picked off Flutie and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown. BC's lead was down to 31-28 heading into the fourth quarter.

Houston could never quite pull away, though, as the Eagles' ground game got going. A nine-play, 44-yard drive by the Eagles offense was capped by a four-yard Steve Strachan TD run to push the Eagles lead back to 38-28. Strachan's second touchdown, a 18 yard run with 1:08 left in the game sealed a 45-28 victory for Boston College. The Eagles' running back's 196-yard rushing output would be the second highest rushing output ever in the Cotton Bowl Classic. Strachan, along with BC's Bill Romanowski, would be named the game's MVPs.

Other facts about this game:

-- Attendance was 67,381 paid (56,522) despite frigid conditions (32 degrees, windy, drizzly).

-- At the time, Flutie became the seventh Heisman Trophy winner to make a New Year's Day appearance in the Cotton Bowl.

-- Boston College and Houston became the first teams to earn $2 million paychecks from the Cotton Bowl. This year's Cotton Bowl payout is $7.25 million.

Houston 7 7 14 0 - 28
Boston College 17 14 0 14 - 45

BC - Kelvin MARTIN 63 pass from Doug FLUTIE (Kevin SNOW kick). Score: Boston College 7, Houston 0.
BC - Troy STRADFORD 8 pass from FLUTIE (SNOW kick). Score: Boston College 14, Houston 0.
H - Earl ALLEN 98 kickoff return (Mike CLENDENEN kick). Score: Boston College 14, Houston 7.
BC - 31 FG SNOW. Score: Boston College 17, Houston 7.

BC - Gerard PHELAN 13 pass from FLUTIE (SNOW kick). Score: Boston College 24, Houston 7.
BC - Steve STRACHEN 2 run (SNOW kick). Score: Boston College 31, Houston 7.
H - Larry SHEPHERD 15 pass from Gerald LANDRY (CLENDENEN kick). Score: Boston College 31, Houston 14.

H - Raymond TATE 2 run (CLENDENEN kick). Score: Boston College 31, Houston 21.
H - Audrey McMILLIAN 25 interception return (CLENDENEN kick). Score: Boston College 31, Houston 28.

BC - STRACHAN 4 run (SNOW kick). Score: Boston College 38, Houston 28.
BC - STRADFORD 18 run (SNOW kick). Score: Boston College 45, Houston 28.

Team Statistics BC UH
First Downs 22 15
Total Net Yds 533 321
Net Yds Rushing 353 167
Net Yds Passing 180 154
Interceptions 2 2
Penalties 7-64 7-66
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 3-2