Undefeated Boston College beats undefeated Georgetown
ON THIS DATE (November 16, 1940) ... Forty thousand spectators saw an American football classic at Fenway Park this afternoon as Boston College stopped Georgetown’s three-year unbeaten mark by the score of 19 to 18.
In many ways it was probably the greatest football game ever played by colleges or by pros. When you look back over the dizzy panorama of this cold, gray afternoon it was something more than the battle of the mastodon and the mammoth. The mastodons and mammoths were on hand in droves. But so were the Eagles and the Gazelles. There was not only crashing power along the ground as giants frames collided. There was also a dazzling battle through the chilly November air. There was every type of play that football has yet seen. There were double and triple passes. There were double reverses. There were spreads and shifts and fakes and feints that kept the packed stands not only thrilled but completely bewildered.
Boston College won by a single point, winding up Georgetown’s unbeaten sweep of 23 victories. But as they finished in the dark on an unlighted field, it was Georgetown storming at the gates of victory as Charlie O’Rourke, B.C.’s brilliant captain, accepted a safety with only 65 seconds left.
Here were the two teams that averaged over 200 pounds, where both teams were fast and smart. And yet both teams offered the finest open play in the way of laterals, passes and ball handling that any football crowd ever saw in action. This may seem to be over praise. It isn’t and through all this swirl of deceptive action, you saw blocking and tackling that frequently left two or three men at a time flat on their broad backs and completely out. You didn’t have to see this blocking and tackling. You could hear it 20 miles away. That’s the way they were hitting. It was Georgetown who got the jump by scoring 10 points in the first part of the first period through Lio’s 42-yard field goal and blocked a kick that gave Koshlap his chance to drive across the line on a touchdown play. Georgetown was now on the march, and the Georgetown section was a riot in the way of vocal cataclysm.
The Eagle had wounded wings at this point, but the Eagle was still flying as Charlie O’Rourke struck back. Georgetown held the lead through the first period at 10 to 6. Then Boston College swing back to set the pace in the second period at 13 to 10 as Holovak raced across the line. You got the idea that almost every one on B.C. was handling the ball. Back and forth -- to and fro.
The first half ended with Boston College leading 13 to 10. Then Georgetown ended a 65-yard march as Joe McFadden on a double reverse scored for the Hoyas to take the lead at 16 to 13. Once more Boston College was trailing with the Eagle in trouble. But once again O’Rourke, Maznicki and others swing back to work as O’Rourke again whipped a pass to Maznicki that picked up 32 yards and a touchdown. Now Boston College was leading 19 to 16.
By this time the big crowd was as dizzy as the players. Every once in the stands realized they were looking on the great game of the year -- one of the greatest ever played. Goodreault, the star end for the Eagles, had been carried off the field with a badly sprained knee after exceptional play while he was around on the job. Others were dazed and stunned by the swift impact of so much fast flesh.
At the end, Boston College was fighting desperately to protect its three-point lead. Georgetown was scrapping with equal destruction to break through. To break through and win. Georgetown threw away a safe chance for a tie game on fourth down only 20 yards away from the goal posts with a field goal shot. Georgetown gambled to win -- not to tie. The pass was knocked down. This was the spirit in which this game was played.
As darkness settled over the cold and soggy scene, Georgetown drove the Eagle almost out of his eyrie. The Hoyas forced their rivals back to the eight-yard line where O’Rourke, one of the day’s brilliants, a really great back, decided to take a safety and win by a point.
The last few plays were made in almost total dusk. But you could still hear the crash and crack of mammoths meeting mastodons -- of bones that either had to bend or break. It will be a long, long time before any football crowd will ever see a game like this one -- a game that carried all the ingredients of manpower, speed, skill, deception, blocking and tackling -- almost every detail that belongs to football. It took a great football team to beat Georgetown today -- and Boston College was a great football team. So was Georgetown. I doubt that any other team in the country could have beaten either.