Most Famous Plays in College Football History: The Miami Miracle Secures Doug Flutie’s Legacy

    Some plays in college football history will be remembered forever, and Doug Flutie deserves recognition for engineering one of the best we've seen.

    Some plays in college football history will be remembered forever. Some plays in college football history will be immortalized in folklore, talked about in bars and stadiums, and everywhere else sports fans unite to discuss or argue a particular moment’s correct amongst the annals of the great game. However, other plays demand something much more.

    Most Famous Plays in College Football History: Doug Flutie and the Miami Miracle

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    When you visit Alumni Stadium, the home of the Boston College Eagles, you are greeted by a reminder that some plays in college football history simply mean more. They’re program-defining. They’re career-shaping. They’re legacy-making. Outside Gate D, a six-foot bronze statue is a physical reminder of all of those things, a reminder of the time Doug Flutie did the unimaginable.

    This season marks 40 years since one of the most memorable moments in Boston College football history. On November 23, 1984 (mere months after I was born), Flutie led Jack Bicknell’s Eagles into the Orange Bowl to face the defending national champion Miami Hurricanes. Some hours of a scintillating slug fest later, the Boston College quarterback delivered a knockout.

    “Three wide receivers out to the right,” Brent Musberger set the scene for the millions watching on CBS. “Flutie flushed…Throws it down…Caught by Boston College. I don’t believe it!!!”

    Boston College were no schmucks at that time, don’t get me wrong. The Eagles were ranked 10th in the nation and entered the matchup against Miami with a 7-2 record.

    Nonetheless, they were a six-point underdog against Jimmy Johnson’s Hurricanes, and despite romping out to a 14-0 lead early on, were down 45-41 as the clock ticked down towards its inevitable expiration.

    Whether embellishing the story through time or a factual recollection of those final moments, it is reported that the Miami defensive backs doubted that Flutie could heave the rock far enough to complete the play that would become known as the “Miami Miracle” or “Hail Flutie.”

    Doubted his entire life due to his diminutive stature, he delivered the dart to Gerard Phelan that would come to define his career, to define Boston College football. Flutie himself later commented that without the play, he would quite easily have been forgotten about — despite winning the Heisman Trophy and leading the Eagles to what would be their most recent major bowl game.

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    Instead of being forgotten, the Miami Miracle secured Flutie’s place in college football history.

    The play found its way into the NCAA Football video game franchise, allowing gamers to attempt to replicate the seemingly impossible. A six-foot statue outside the gates of Alumni Stadium means that it will never be forgotten.

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