The year was 1972. Boston College was in the midst of what would morph into a 4-7 season under then Coach Joe Yukica and was coming off a 45-26 loss to #6 Penn State, when they traveled to Amherst to take on future Syracuse and New England Patriots boss, Dick MacPherson and UMass.
The Minutemen, who had just that season, switched their nickname from the Redmen (they were originally the Aggies!!), were on their way to a 9-2 season, undefeated Yankee Conference championship and a win over UC Davis in the highly prestigious, Boardwalk Bowl in Atlantic City, NJ...yeah, you remember that team right?
The BC-UMass "rivalry" had renewed in 1966 after taking a leisurely 54 year absence. BC had won five straight, by an average score of 25-9 and there was talk that the series should take a more permanent break. BC was moving from a regional program to a national one, while UMass was a Division II team, soon to be reclassified at 1AA and now FCS.
Playing at UMass' Alumni Stadium in front of what is still a record crowd of 20,000 (you wonder why they can't draw at Gillette), the Minutemen rolled BC, 28-7, their first victory over the Eagles since 1912.
BC bounced back in a big way in 1973, re-establishing world order, by thrashing UMass 59-14 at the Heights. That game established Eagle records for team rushing yards and rushing first downs in a game that is still the standard today.
In 1974 BC returned to Amherst on an incredible roll having won four straight. The Eagles had blasted Villanova (55-3), Tulane (27-3) and Syracuse (45-0) and entered the game 6-3. UMass on the other hand, would wind up winning the Yankee Conference again, but would finish just 5-6 and heading into the BC contest had lost three of four to juggernauts Holy Cross, UConn and Colgate.
So the game already appeared to be a mismatch and then UMass made their big mistakes.
The UMass team took the field while the BC band was in their pregame program, sporting helmet stickers, "Remember '72".
The tone was set immediately, when BC DB Roger Reddick blew up UMass return man Bill Coleman on the opening kickoff. Ball went one way, helmet another and Coleman a third, as the fumble was recovered by Eagle Steve Scialabba. Six players later, FB Keith Barnette, who wound up leading the nation in scoring and still holds the all time single season BC TD record, took it over from a yard out. 7-0 Eagles.
BC turned UMass over 8 times, the second most in program history and leveraged four of those in the first half into touchdowns and took a 42-0 lead to the half.
Charley Manning, Heights sports reporter at the time had this to say in his game article:
BC's program has now progressed to the stage where they are just too good for any team in New England. And the undermanned, injury ridden Minutemen could not even be competitive. BC did not roll up the score, UMass gave away points. It could easily have been 100-1. Next week the Eagles play traditional rival Holy Cross, and it could be more of the same.
Heights columnist Jim Tengrove took a humorous look at the massacre.
With just under two minutes remaining in the game, BC quarterback, "Cleats" Monan faked the pitch to reserve running back, Reid Oslin, and hit Bill Flynn with a 43 yard bomb for the touchdown. The "ageless" Snooks Kelly added the conversion to complete a 77-8 romp of the University of Massachusetts up in Amherst.
Then he added something that all UMass fans should remember come Saturday afternoon:
Just when I'm ready to propose the noble gesture of cancelling Holy Cross, I'm assaulted by regional jealousy. It seems BC is the only six footer in a neighborhood of midgets. No one enjoys that but the six footer. If you can't constantly cope with the cross town six footers, you can't win the big ones. But run up a score in your own backyard and you're a bully. "Belly-aching" is the traditional cover up of ineptness.
Somethings never change.
Hey UMass, know your role and whatever you do, don't piss us off.