This Week in Heisman History: Flutie magic beats Miami

By Chris Huston | College Football Writer

It's one of the most famous plays in college football history.

On Nov. 23, 1984, Boston College trailed Miami 45-40 with six seconds to play. The line of scrimmage was the Hurricanes' 48. The play call was "Flood Tip 55." Eagles senior quarterback Doug Flutie dropped back to his 37 to evade the pass rush and threw a Hail Mary into the wind:

The result was a miraculous touchdown catch by Gerald Phalen to beat Miami, 47-45.

So much has been written about the play, and there's little we can add here. But we do want to note that its importance in Heisman history has been mischaracterized over the years. As it turns out, the play did not win Flutie the trophy. Votes had already been sent to the Downtown Athletic Club before the game was played.

What actually won the Heisman for Flutie was his incredible career in which he threw for an NCAA record 10,579 yards. In his senior year alone, he threw for 3,454 yards and 27 touchdowns to lead Boston College to a 10-2 record and a No. 5 national ranking. Just six years prior, BC had gone 0-11.

That he did it while standing just 5 feet 9 and weighing a scant 180 pounds made it all the more impressive to voters, who made him the first quarterback to win the Heisman since Pat Sullivan of Auburn in 1971. He beat out running back Keith Byars of Ohio State and quarterback Robbie Bosco of BYU, sweeping all six of the Heisman voting regions.

Flutie went on to a stellar career in the CFL and NFL, but he'll always be remembered for that miracle against Miami.

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