<
>

In Miami, BC knows anything can happen

NEWTON, Mass. -- The answer: Countless.

The question: How many times have the current Eagles seen Doug Flutie’s famous throw to beat Miami?

“Oh my goodness,” senior punter Ryan Quigley said. “Even before I came to BC, I’ve seen it hundreds of times. I think any time you turn on college football on Saturday, they go through the past historic moments and Flutie’s right there.

“That’s where I really learned about BC was through Flutie, ‘Oh yeah, that pass against Miami.’ … That really put a foundation on our program and allowed us to grow into what we are today.”

“It’s still like an inspirational play,” junior tight end Chris Pantale said. “The whole Flutie era, the way he just put Boston College on the map. It’s just crazy. There’s so much history behind it. It’s remarkable.”

“I feel like every time you watch a BC game on TV they probably show it at least once,” fifth-year senior Mark Spinney said of the play. “Of course they’re gonna show it another 50 times [this week].”

The game against Miami on Friday (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC) comes 27 years and two days after the Miracle in Miami, when Flutie’s 48-yard Hail Mary landed in Gerard Phelan’s hands as he fell backward into the end zone to beat the defending champion Hurricanes in a thrilling 47-45 game on national TV.

That history isn’t lost on the Eagles, but neither is the fact that none of them was even alive when the game was played.

“With Miami, I’ve never played them before,” junior Luke Kuechly said. “For me, it’s not as big of a rivalry as maybe some other games … because we haven’t played them in a while. I’m definitely excited to get down there, because you always hear a lot and read a lot about Miami, so I’m excited to play them.”

The teams last met in 2007, a game the Eagles won 28-14 at Alumni Stadium. Prior to that, Miami had won 15 straight meetings with the last BC win coming … Nov. 23, 1984, at the Orange Bowl.

The Hurricanes are 14-1 against BC in Miami -- the only loss, of course, came in the Hail Flutie game -- and 23-4 overall.

“Everyone wants to get a win and end the season and hopefully get some momentum for next season,” Pantale said. “So we’ll see how it goes.”

Though Miami (6-5, 3-4 ACC) has had its own issues to deal with -- including suspensions for multiple players for receiving illegal benefits -- the Eagles (3-8, 2-5) praised the Hurricanes, with Kuechly calling them “dangerous.”

“Their offense, man, it’s crazy,” Kuechly said. “I was watching tape last night, they like never come out in the same set. … Their offensive coordinator’s a pro guy, so they’ve just got formations out the window.”

Miami has averaged 27.36 points a game, good for 61st in the nation. The Canes won their most recent game, surviving 6-3 at South Florida on a 36-yard field goal by Jake Wieclaw as time expired.

“You know, there’s tremendous team speed, size, a very mobile, athletic quarterback, and we’ve had problems with this type of matchup before,” BC coach Frank Spaziani said of Miami’s offense in a teleconference Tuesday. “We’re certainly going to have to put ourselves in the right position, first of all, and then we’re going to have to make … some plays that we haven’t made in the past.”

The Eagles had praise for the Hurricanes’ defense, as well.

“They’re a tough defense,” Pantale said. “They’ve got a lot of athletes on their defense, as usual. But the plays are gonna be there, just hoping to make the best out of them.”

Allowing just 19.73 points per game, the Canes’ D ranks 18th in the country in the category.

With all the history behind the matchup, with the circumstances being what they are -- 27 years and two days after the most famous win in school history, on national TV the day after Thanksgiving -- the Eagles don’t need a lot of extra motivation this week.

And yet there is some for the Eagles’ seniors.

“This is the last time you’re gonna be putting on the pads and going out there for BC,” one of those seniors, Spinney, said. “Last time really being a part of everything that’s here. Truly being an Eagle.

“You know, I’ll be an Eagle forever but I’ll never strap on the maroon and gold again and be out with the team again.”

So while the season’s long since been lost and there will be no bowl game for BC this season, there’s no lack of desire. Not during this game week.

“We have to go out and play as hard as possible and get the win,” Quigley said.

Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.