Boston College 47, Miami 45
November 23, 1984
Boston’s most memorable college game ever
As the cliché has it, no one would have dared to write a script for a scenario as implausible as this one. But the cliché is wrong. Leigh Montville did write the script. Doug Flutie just added some notes.
For years, Montville wrote an NFL column called “Pro Picks” in the Boston Globe on fall Fridays. He led each column with his prediction for that Sunday’s Patriots game. But because the Patriots had played in Dallas on Thanksgiving Day in 1984, Montville led the next day’s “Pro Picks” column with his forecast for the BC–Miami game, a Black Friday matinee in the Orange Bowl. There was keen local interest in the game, which pitted a pair of Heisman Trophy contenders at quarterback: Flutie for the No. 10 Eagles and sophomore sensation Bernie Kosar for the Hurricanes, the defending national champions.
This was Montville’s prediction:
BOSTON COLLEGE 44, MIAMI 43—Night is arriving. The Orange Bowl lights are on. The game has gone forever with all of those passes. Flutie takes the Eagles down the field and scores with zero seconds left. The Eagles go for the two-point conversion. Flutie scores on a rollout.
The score is about right. And I love the “zero seconds left” part. But instead of rolling out for two points, how about if I throw for six? (Remember, I’m still trying to convince the doubters that I’m a “real” quarterback.) And it can’t be a short pass—there has to be a believable explanation for why the Miami defense would leave a receiver open in the end zone. So how about if I heave it farther than anybody thinks I can—say, 65 yards into the rain and wind? It will be the perfect answer to all those critics who think I’m too small and don’t have enough arm strength. (Oh, and for that “Hollywood” touch, let’s have my roomie, Gerard Phelan, catch it.)
The Miracle in Miami sealed the deal for the 1984 Heisman Trophy, with Flutie winning by a comfortable margin over Ohio State running back Keith Byars. (Kosar was a distant fourth.) Flutie then closed his brilliant college career with a 45–28 victory over Houston in the 1985 Cotton Bowl.