Another Wing and a Prayer
Only a week after its epic victory over Florida State, Miami almost blew its chance to win the national championship, narrowly avoiding a loss to Boston College on another Doug Flutie-type miracle. We're talking, of course, about the immortal madness that happened on Nov. 23, 1984, when Flutie, BC's wondrous quarterback, let fly with a 48-yard Hail Mary pass on the last play of the game, which was somehow hauled down by Gerard Phelan in the end zone, giving the Eagles a 47-45 victory over Miami.
Well, last Saturday's game in Boston was held on the seventh anniversary of that classic, and Flutie, who had recently completed an outstanding season with the British Columbia Lions of the CFL, was in attendance. The Eagles responded with an inspired performance aided and abetted by the sloppy Hurricanes, who were penalized 18 times for 138 yards.
Just as they were seven years ago, the Eagles were in position last Saturday to win at the end, trailing 19-14 with a first down at the Miami 26 and 43 seconds remaining. "I thought Flutie was out there," said Miami coach Dennis Erickson. But sophomore quarterback Glenn Foley was sacked on third down and had to throw his own Hail Mary on the game's last play. This time, the ball landed untouched in the end zone.
"We could have beaten 99 percent of the teams in the country the way we played tonight," said Foley, whose team finished the season 4-7. Asked if the Hurricanes had been guilty of their usual trash-talking, he said, "How much could they talk? We stuck it to them."
The Eagles did, indeed, and that undoubtedly cost the Hurricanes some No. 1 votes in the polls and gave No. 2 Washington, which closed an 11-0 season by drilling Washington State 56-21, the hope that it will be able to pull off a different kind of miracle on New Year's Day and wind up with the national championship.
A Late-Season Homecoming
Until last Saturday, Dartmouth hadn't played its final game at home since 1927. That was because school officials had feared that late-November weather in Hanover, N.H., would be better suited for snowballs than footballs. The tradeoff was that for the last 27 years Dartmouth got to open Ivy League play at home.
However, some malcontent evidently complained that Dartmouth got too much of an advantage by always opening at home—never mind that the Big Green had lost seven consecutive league openers before this season. So Dartmouth began Ivy play on the road this season and closed it last weekend by meeting Princeton for the league title in Hanover. There was no snow, but the day was cold and gray and the field mushy.
Each team came into the game with five league wins; Princeton had lost once, to Harvard, and the Big Green had tied a game, also with Harvard. The visiting Tigers, who hadn't won the Ivy title outright in 26 years, were so confident of victory that they brought along two cases of champagne and stored them in the locker room for the postgame celebration. At least, that was what the Dartmouth coaches told their players. "That got us fired up," said Big Green tailback Al Rosier. Of course, the story may have been nothing more than a motivational ploy by Dartmouth coach Buddy Teevens, because Tiger coach Steve Tosches later denied having anything stronger than soda pop in his dressing room.