UM, BC’s long history: Even without disputed first meeting, Eagles own series

By Eli Rosenswaike, Collegian Staff

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Apparently the Boston College-Massachusetts rivalry runs so deep that the two schools can’t even agree on how many times they’ve played each other.

According to UMass, the two teams have met on the gridiron a total of 21 times – the first of which occurred in 1901. But if you look at BC’s media guide, these rival squads took to the field on October 26, 1899 – an 18-0 Eagles victory.

When perusing the UMass media guide and old-school Collegian clippings (then known as The Aggie Life), there is no record of this contest. But that’s a matter for another day.

Outside of a potentially phantom football game, there is much more at stake this Saturday at Alumni Stadium. Both teams enter the 1 p.m. kickoff with perfect 4-0 records, and national title aspirations – albeit at different levels.

It will be a battle of top-tier quarterbacks in BC’s Matt Ryan and UMass’s Liam Coen, but more than that, it will be a battle between teams that once shared a more storied rivalry.

Going by the theory that no game was played in 1899, the rivalry “officially” began in 1901 for their first career matchup. But UMass and BC only played twice more in the next 60-plus years, once a year later in 1902 and in 1912.

The rivalry didn’t technically begin until 1966 – when the two schools agreed to an eight-year contract. That deal was extended, as UMass and BC played each other for 17 years in a row, up until 1982.

The gap between games after that series lasted over 20 years, when they finally met again in 2004 – a 29-7 BC win at Alumni Stadium. It was UMass coach Don Brown’s first year at the helm.

Before the game is kicked off on Saturday, here is a look at some of the marquee matchups – which both teams account for, of course – in the history between the two schools.

November 28, 1901: UMass 11, BC 0

UMass took the opening game of this matchup, 11-0 at Alumni Stadium on Thanksgiving Day. That year’s UM squad (known as the Aggies) was considered by many to be the best in school history; a program dating back to 1879, its first year of varsity football.

That game was played with two 20-minute halves, and touchdowns back then were worth five points. It was extremely cold that day, causing both teams to frequently fumble. UMass capitalized on the turnovers, scoring two touchdowns (one missed extra point).

October 4, 1902: UMass 30, BC 0

It was another win and another shutout for UMass over BC. This game was played with two halves, one consisting of 20 minutes, and the other for 15 minutes. UMass dominated play, especially in the second half – as UMass had possession of the ball for the entire second half.

October 12, 1912: UMass 42, BC 0

For much of the game, the crowd chanted, “we want 47, we want 47!” in reference to the 47-0 win that UMass had over Dartmouth a week earlier.

It didn’t get the 47 points, but UMass manhandled BC regardless, 42-0. UMass dominated the game from start to finish, leading 19-0 after the first quarter and 26-0 at the half.

November 19, 1966: BC 14, UMass 7

BC had to wait 54 years for revenge from its previous loss to UMass. This matchup between the Eagles and the Redmen (changed to Minutemen in the 70s) was contested in Amherst.

“The Eagles have the biggest bulks of beef in the East in their front line,” wrote the Collegian prior to the game. The average weight of their five offensive linemen was 235.6 pounds, which would be considered puny by today’s standards. UMass’s current offensive line weighs in at an average of 301 pounds.

November 25, 1972: UMass 28, BC 7

UMass QB Peil Pennington led UMass to 473 total yards and the victory. UMass led 28-0 at the half.

“Many viewers felt that they were watching the wrong game,” wrote the Collegian afterwards. BC was held to 9 yards of offense in the first half.

November 24, 1973: BC 59, UMass 14

The score essentially says it all. But check out the first paragraph from the Collegian’s story afterwards.

“It was the worst disaster to befall New England since the death of Calvin Coolidge, the worse defensive collapse since the says of Dick Stuart, the biggest sporting mismatch since Bobby Orr broke in alone on Helen Keller.”

BC had 603 offensive yards, including an unreal 518 yards rushing on 72 attempts. UMass ran four plays from scrimmage in the first quarter, and that includes a punt.

November 23, 1974: BC 70, UMass 8

If you thought the year before was bad, think again.

It was the worst loss for UMass since 1956 – when they lost to Connecticut 71-6. UMass fumbled six times and was intercepted three more. BC scored touchdowns on its first five possessions, taking a 42-0 lead at the half. UMass was held to 30 rushing yards on 38 carries.

But what angered UMass the most was that BC threw 10 consecutive passes in the third quarter, despite leading by 42.

“The ground was too wet for sound running game,” coach Joe Yukica said after the game. Maybe that explains the UMass rushing total.

November 25, 1978: UMass 27, BC 0

UMass coach Bob Pickett and the Minutemen beat up on perhaps the worst Eagles team in history, 27-0. BC finished that season 0-11.

“I love it, I love it,” UMass player Steve Telander said afterwards. “I remember that 70-8 disaster more than anything