Doc Five: Best College Football Buzzer Beaters – No. 2, Hail Flutie

This offseason we will count down various topics from Monday through Friday, bringing you the top five of the important and definitely some not so important issues in college football. It's the Doc Five, every week until we will thankfully have actual games to discuss.



With the NCAA Tournament officially beginning Thursday (no one counts the play-in games), we here at the Doc thought it would be fitting to highlight one of the greatest college football buzzer beaters of all time.

Doug Flutie was undersized, but scrappy, and if he had the ball and there was time left on the clock, no one could count him out.

On Nov. 23, 1984, the day after Thanksgiving, reigning national champion Miami and Boston College met in what ultimately would be a offensive shootout in a rain storm. The teams combined for 15 scoring drives, but it was the final scoring drive that would make history.

With 28 seconds remaining, Flutie led his team from its own 20-yard line to the Hurricanes’ 48. The Eagles trailed 45-41 with 6 seconds remaining little hope of pulling off the upset victory, In fact, BC coach Jack Bicknell would later tell the media that after Miami scored its final touchdown late, he thought his team had lost.

[Also: NBC to air Jerry Sandusky interview on Monday]

The play was called “Flood Tip,” which sent three BC receivers downfield. The play was designed for receiver Gerry Phelan to catch the ball, but if he couldn’t catch it, he was to tip it to one of his teammates.

Boston College had tried the play three other times in the previous two seasons and it worked once, so the odds weren’t exactly in the Eagles' favor. But Flutie took the snap, raced around a little bit, dodged a defender and then hurled the ball toward the end zone.

And right into Phelan’s waiting arms.

Unlike most Hail Mary plays, there was no tip, the ball wasn’t batted around or juggled. Instead, the ball floated over two defenders and into Phelan’s waiting arms as he fell to the turf.

“I assumed the ball was incomplete,” Flutie said during an ESPN documentary. “And then all of a sudden I saw the officials arms go up in the back of the end zone and I started kinda laughing to myself like, ‘You gotta be kidding me.’”

Boston College went on to finish the season 10-2, the first double-digit win season for the Eagles and just one of three since. A week later, Flutie was awarded the Heisman Trophy.

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Previous Doc Five Buzzers beaters: No. 3 Bluegrass Miracle, No. 4, Miracle at Michigan, No. 5, Trinity University and 15 laterals

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