The official blog of the sports section of The Heights: Boston College's independent student newspaper

Then And Now: Boston College vs. Villanova Football

Suzzy Coffay / Heights Photo

Suzzy Coffay / Heights Photo

Boston College and Villanova are set to meet for the 46th time on Aug. 31 to kickoff the 2013 football season. The game renews a rivalry that dates back to 1922, but has been dormant for the last 23 years. Here is a sampling of the Heights archives from the first and the last time the Wildcats and the Eagles met, filled with poetic writing, Meat Loaf references, and a student’s head “accidentally” going through a window. BC defeated Villanova 15-3 on Nov. 9, 1922, and the Wildcats won 20-9 on Sept. 27, 1980.



The much-tooted Villa Nova forwards took some stern lessons from Major Cavanaugh’s supposedly “weak” line in the Wigwam last Saturday, when the Eagle eleven vanquished the Pennsylvania team in a contest marked with many frowns and smiles from “Fortuna.” It only goes to prove that “the bigger they are, the harder they fall.”

When B. C. interference started to cut a path for their ball carriers, the Villa Novians went down like proverbial wheat in harvest time. Which was all very appropriate, since November’s the month. Boston College started the game with quite a few new faces in the lineup, and as the contest progressed, many another filled the position of a veteran, and filled it well.

It was just such a game as is needed to tune up a reliable set of substitutes for the big games that are yet in the offing. So, while some of the first string men were taking a rest for one reason or another, the ambitious irregulars had a chance to show their wares, and at the same time gain valuable experience. It was more or less of a revelation to the spectators, to see the subs that participated hold off a line that gave trouble even to the experienced Holy Cross eleven.

It cannot be denied that the Villa Nova outfit was more frowned upon than smiled at by lady luck, but some of the unfortunate breaks were rather their own fault. The reference is to the fumbling feature that cut many an offensive short. However it’s all in the game, and even the B. C. score would have been a bit larger if the fumbles were nil.

Cronin of Villa Nova was rather a dangerous man to be reckoned with, and more than once threatened to start something, but the quick work of Donahue or Heaphy showed him the futility of trying to star at B.C.’s expense. The work of these men, and that of Jack Keahane stood out prominently all during the game. Keahane made some plays that were absolutely brilliant, but the end of this aggressive charging and deadly tackling came when big Jack wrenched his shoulder and had to be relieved.

The first score of the contest was obtained when the B. C. machine marched steadily down the gridiron, alternating with line charges by Ward and Cronin. The second was the result of a one man act, in which O’Connell played the lead. “Grat” tore through the Villa Nova defense, blocked Cronin’s attempted punt, chased the ball, recovered, and made the touchdown in just so much time as it takes to read these lines, O’Connell is a quick thinker, and his legs are not a whole lot slower than his thinking process.

Two other touchdowns were made that didn’t count. But B.C. was not to he denied and “Big Boy Tony.” fearing to be left out in the scoring, decided to do his hit. So he registered a safety, when Heaphy blocked a punt. During the opening minutes of the second half Villa Nova uncorked a surprising offence, but when the crucial moment came, they couldn’t score.

Again in the last period the Penn hoys let loose, and by a series of brilliant short passes paved the way to Cronin’s drop kick, which was the only Villa Nova tally. Taking all in all, the game was a good barometer of the improvement of the Maroon and Gold forwards. The bakcfield needs no praise. They are superb. With two more games before the important contests, the Eagle eleven will be just ripe to take a couple of heavy falls out of the Exendine and O’Donnell aggregations and make up for last year.



Eagles Shocked by Emotional Villanova (Sept. 29 1980) – Villanova 20 – BC 9

by Eric Shulman

An old adage has been told over the years, that history will repeat itself. In 1976, after defeating nationally ranked Texas, BC went down to lowly-ranked Villanova and was beaten. In 1980, after defeating nationally ranked Stanford, BC again went down to Villanova, and, although the faces have changed, the result remained the same. Led by a potent “Wishbone” attack, the previously winless Wildcats upset the Eagles, 20-9. Kevin Ingram was the surprise starting qaarterback for Villanova.

“He didn’t know it until just before the game. We didn’t want him to think about it for two or three days and be nervous,” said coach Dick Bedesam.

Well, nervous he wasn’t. Ingram, on the Wildcats’ second possession, marched his team eighty yards on nine plays. He continually kept the BC defense off stride by running the option, going through the middle and on a key play in the drive hitting Bill Conners on a 32-yard pass. Running back Shawn Passman carried over the right side, exploiting the weakness in that position due to the absence of Junie Poles, for the touchdown.

The Eagles’ offense again could not get on track until Loughery hit Rob Rikard for a 36 yard gain, but BC had to suffice with a 29-yard field-goal off the foot of John Cooper. The defense toughened giving the offense, again, good field position, but BC was stopped on the nine yard line and Cooper had to come in to add another three-pointer, cutting the deficit to 7-6. This would be the Wildcat’s day, though, before a sellout homecoming crowd of 13,400 people.

Ingram came back, and along with a deceptive option, started hitting wide receiver Tim Robinson (a la Benjie Pryor) over the middle. Chuck Bushbeck finished off the seventy-seven yard drive with a 21-yard field-goal pushing the advantage up to 10-6. BC again drove down field only to turn the ball over by an interception. Jerry Stabile came right back by recovering a fumble on the Villanova eighteen with a little over two minutes left in the first half.

The Eagles, a few plays later, found themselves with a third down on the four yard line. You guessed it, another squandered opportunity and a Cooper field-goal. The half’ ended 10-9, with Boston College having an impressive 111 yards on the ground but NO touchdowns to show for it.

Into the third quarter it went with BC regrouped and ready for the kill! Shelby Gamble and Jim Budness both were limited by sprained ankles. The offense which blew chances in the first half, was non-existant in the second half by getting only 84 total yards and a mere six first downs.

Meanwhile Villanova countered back with what they do best, ball control, (18 minutes out of 30). Bushbeck kicked a 40 yard field goal to make it 13-9. BC, unbelievably, still had a chance to take the lead, but without a strong running game they could get nowhere. The nail was put tightly into the coffin when fullback Don Ziesel ran over center for a one yard touchdown run, capping off a fifty-six yard drive in nine plays.

The score was 20-9 and the Eagles had been defeated. A disappointed Ed Chlebek commented after the game, “The key to the game was their ball control and our lack of it. We hold no alibis because Sherwin and poles didn’t play. We were not cocky because we knew we had not won down there in a while. Villanova did nothing different. We played well against Stanford, we did not play well against Villanova.”

Sure, Stanford won at Oklahoma, and if BC had veen victorious they would have been in the top-twenty. As Dick Vermiel (Phil. Eagles’coach) said, “Desperate teams do’better things.” Villanova was desperate, and Boston College remains a mystery. Were the Eagles playing over their heads by beating Stanford or was this loss the real thing – Inconsistency?


Suzzy Coffay / Heights Photo

The “Rocky” Horror Picture Show – Presented by Villanova (Sept. 29 1980)

by John Conceison

The BC football team saw its role in Villanova’s 20-9 victory as one of the disappointed upset victim, but the Wildcats acted as if it was their destiny to pull off the unexpected. When any athletic organization invades Philadelphia, to face an underdog, one must expect the City of Brotherly Love to bill its ball club as “Rocky Revisited.” Villanova was no exception last Saturday afternoon.

The Wildcats’ psych-out maneuvers began Friday afternoon when the Eagles arrived in Philly. The BC entourage was treated to an unguided bus tour of the “Rocky” and “Rocky II” steps enroute to Villanova, as the two busses bypassed the famed meatpacking plant, the Spectrum, and finally to give the ride an additional Cinderella touch, the Philadelphia Museum of Fine Arts, which is best known as the place where Sylvester Stallone jumps up-and-down like a pogo stick after whipping every young Flyers’ fan in a road race. And if that wasn’t enough, the “Theme to Rocky” was played over the Villanova Stadium’s P.A. system shortly before the game, much to the delight of the homecoming sellout crowd of 13,300 on hand.

These articles of trivia, however, don’t measure up in importance to those concerning the events actually taking place on the Cats’ brand new artificial surface. So let’s take a look at why Nova won, or if you prefer a rephrasing of the issue, why the Eagles got caught off guard.

For starters, the Wildcats did the one thing they had to do if they were to have any chance of overtaking the Eagles, they jumped on the board early. Freshman Kevin Ingram’s 32-yard completion to Bill Conners set up Shawn Passman’s six-yard spurt over the right side and into the endzone to put the Villanovans ahead, 7-0, with just under 9 minutes gone in the contest.

Another factor that aided the Cats to the upset was the manner in which they executed a very smart offensive game. They were well aware of the Eagles’ secondary capabilities, as all that was needed to convince coach Kick Bedesem of the danger they pose was their nine interceptions in the first two contests. Those thoughts prompted the Nova mentor to insert the 18-year old Ingram, a devout worshipper of the orthodox Wishbone-T, as a surprise starter at quarterback.

He responded by employing a steady ground game, irritating an Eagle lean area the defensive line hampered by the absence of injured standout tackle Junior Poles. Ingram seldom went to the air, thus frustrating the secondary, which is accustomed to considerable amounts of airborne action, and when he did throw, he did it with a good deal of proficiency (5 for 8, 81 yards).

The Villanova defense did its part by performing in a fashion that could only lead to victory. The Eagles conducted a consistent ground game in the first half to remain within 10-9 striking distance, as Shelby Gamble had scampered for 60 yards, and Kevin Benjamin added 46. The final 30 minutes, however, were a different story, as the Wildcats “D” held BC backs to a mere six yards and continued to keep Eagle troops TD-less.

Villanova may have been 0-3 prior to last weekend with a recent loss to UMass hanging over its head, but it was still a club to be reckoned with. After all, the Cats had dropped a close decision to nationally-ranked Maryland in their season opener, and turnovers (18 in their first three games), not a lack of ability, was what beset them in the early going.

BCs post-season hopes were probably dimmed a bit with the loss to Villanova, however that’s no reason to start thinking the Eagles aren’t a winning ballclub, even if their present record stands at 1-2, as they played two great ballgames on the two weekends previous to this Philadelphia Story.

Meat Loaf would put it in music that “two out of three ain’t bad.” Sure it ain’t bad, yet things can afford to, and hopefully will improve over the course of this young season.


Suzzy Coffay / Heights Photo

Suzzy Coffay / Heights Photo

Security Tightens After Bloody Weekend – 1980

by M.E. Malone

After the first home game of the football season there was little damage to university property, at least in comparison to “bodily destruction,” according to Director of Housing Richard Collins. Approximately thirty BC students were brought to the emergency room at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital because of “alcohol-related incidents,” according to a hospital spokesperson. A student’s head “accidentally” went through a window in the Hillsides. It is not known how this accident occurred, according to Area Coordinator Paul Maclsaac.

Another student, a BC hockey player, may lose the use of his hand because a bottle was smashed on his wrist as he tried to break up a fight between a student and two non-BC students. As a result of the week-end occurrences, security will be tightened in Edmond’s Hall in the future. Plans have been made to place two dorm receptionists at the two main entrances to the apartment complex. Other doors will be kept locked at all times. Identification will be required to enter the building. If an outsider wishes to enter, the receptionist will call the room which the outsider wishes to visit and a student must come and sign in the visitor.

Area Coordinator for Edmund’s Allen Milinazzo is optimistic this new system will help alleviate the problem of outsiders in Edmund’s. Students living in the apartment building related stories of tiles torn down from the ceilings, particularly on the second floor, and large numbers of people “roaming” through the halls on Saturday night. No other areas of the campus have made plans to implement a similar system, which is part of security at other Boston colleges, such as Northeastern and Boston University. Hillside RA’s also had difficulty controlling the crowds. There were over 100 people standing outside the Hillsides drinking.

Every lower campus RA was on duty Saturday night to help deal with the problems. No parties were allowed on lower campus, to keep outsiders from entering the buildings. Only four apartments were fined because of illegal parties according to Dean of Students Fr. Hanrahan, though it is believed that there were many more than four parties on campus that evening.

Campus police were “a visible presence,” Maclsaac said. He believes this was responsible for keeping crowds of outsiders “generally under control” in the driveways of the Hillside apartments.

Leave a Reply