Notre Dame beat the No. 1 team in the country for the first time since 1993 last week.
Now, the Irish are hoping history doesn’t repeat itself.
Notre Dame, now ranked No. 2, pulled off a thrilling 47-40 double-overtime upset against top-ranked Clemson at Notre Dame Stadium on Nov. 17. It was the first time the Fighting Irish beat No. 1 since the legendary 31-24 upset against No. 1 Florida State in the “Game of the Century” on Nov. 14, 1993.
Of course, Irish fans know what happened the following week. That might be why seeing Boston College on the schedule again is causing some anxiety. The Eagles upset Notre Dame 41-39 on Nov. 21, 1993, in one of the most infamous losses in Irish history. Seriously, just say Glenn Foley out loud and see where that conversation goes.
There are some interesting similarities to this year’s game.
Notre Dame can win it all
Notre Dame (7-0) proved it’s a national championship contender with the victory against Clemson, and this team has a chance to join the 2012 and 2018 teams that finished unbeaten in the regular season under veteran coach Brian Kelly. The added bonus is the one-year membership in the ACC, where this team could play in its first conference championship.
Ian Book is 27-3 as a starter and delivered the clutch plays against much like Kevin McDougal did in 1993.
Just like ’93, the Irish proved they were a contender with a one-score victory against the best team in the FBS. Florida State had piled up a 9-9 record with four victories against ranked teams with Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward before visiting South Bend. Notre Dame won that game with a strong defense.
When Irish cornerback Shawn Wooden knocked Ward’s desperation pass out of the end zone on the final play of the game, fans stormed the field.
Boston College has a future NFL coach
The Eagles visited Notre Dame Stadium the following week in 1993, and they were led by third-year coach Tom Coughlin.
The team featured Foley at quarterback, and he was backed up by freshman Matt Hasselbeck.
Two-time All-American tight Pete Mitchell and future first-round defensive end Mike Mamula were stars on that team. Coughlin had broke a string of four consecutive losing seasons in 1992, and he left for the NFL after the 1993 season.
Jeff Hafley has impressed in his first season with the Eagles. Hafley, like Coughlin, is an East Coast native and he spent several seasons as an assistant coach in the NFL before taking over as Ohio State’s defensive coordinator last season.
He has led Boston College to a 5-3 record, and the Eagles nearly upset Clemson on Oct. 31 in a 34-28 thriller. Hafley is an up-and-coming coach. The only question is whether he sticks with the college game.
Notre Dame knows this Boston College QB
Foley finished 30 of 48 for 315 yards and four TDs in the ’93 upset against Notre Dame and he led the drive that set up David Gordon’s 41-yard field goal. Boston College pulled that off despite losing 54-7 to the Irish the previous season.
“This year, we realized that they were human beings,” Foley said after the game, via the Washington Post. “Last year, we thought they were unstoppable. Offensively, we are as good as anyone in the nation. We can do anything we want to.”
The Irish beat the Eagles 40-7 last season, but there is a different twist at quarterback. Notre Dame transfer Phil Jurkovec is Boston College’s starter. He’s been good this season with 2,083 yards, 14 TDs and four interceptions.
If the Irish lose this one, then it could be considered more painful considering Jurkovec was a former player.
A loss would generate chaos
The fallout from Notre Dame’s loss to Boston College in 1993 has not been forgotten in South Bend. The Irish beat Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl and finished 11-1. That was good for …
No. 2 in the final AP Poll. Florida State (12-1), despite the head-to-head loss, won the AP national championship after beating No. 2 Nebraska 18-16 in the Orange Bowl.
Could a similar scenario unfold with Notre Dame’s one-year lease in the ACC. After all, Clemson will get Trevor Lawrence back for a potential rematch, and Miami (6-1) remains in the conference championship hunt with the Tigers and Irish. Notre Dame does not want to be involved in any funky tie-breaking scenarios.
A loss to Boston College would re-create that kind of havoc on the ACC and College Football Playoff picture.
Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.
Perhaps Kelly should remind Notre Dame that of ’93 BC game this week just to drive that point home.