On Nov. 23, 1984, NCAA fans witnessed one of the greatest moments in college football history. This particular moment took place on the day after Thanksgiving. The Boston College Eagles traveled to the famed Orange Bowl to take on the Miami Hurricanes.
Heavy rain and wind swept the Miami area that day. However, the weather could not prevent a sellout crowd from filing into the stadium. As it turned out, those fans ended up getting their money’s worth.
A shootout between Boston College’s 5’9″ dynamo, Doug Flutie, and Miami’s tall, lanky gunslinger, Bernie Kosar, were unleashed in the nasty conditions. Bernie Kosar set a school-record in that game, passing for 447-yards and a touchdown.
Meanwhile, Doug Flutie was even better, passing for 472-yards and four touchdowns. Flutie also stood out by becoming the first collegiate quarterback to surpass 10,000-yards through the air. But he would save his best throw for last.
The Hurricanes were leading, 45-41. There was just six seconds remaining in the game. Boston College head coach, Jack Bicknell sent in the now famous “55 Flood Tip” play.
From Miami’s 48-yard line, Flutie took the snap and dropped back. He then avoided the rush by rolling out to the right. When he unleashed a 63-yard bomb through the gusting winds, the ball fell into the hands of wide receiver Gerard Phelan.
Phelan caught the ball in the end zone for the winning score. Flutie’s pitch and Phelan’s catch propelled the Eagles to a remarkable 47-45 victory.
Since that point, the play has embraced the memories of Boston College fans and college football fans all around the country. As for Miami, it was a moment of despair. Regardless of how any college football fan views “Hail Flutie,” it is a moment that will forever live in college football lore.
Recently, the play was ranked at number nine on ESPN’s list of the “100 Most Memorable Moments of the past 25 years”. It also helped Doug Flutie win the Heisman Trophy in 1984.