1985 Cotton Bowl Classic

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1985 Cotton Bowl Classic
1234 Total
Boston College 1714014 45
Houston 77140 28
DateJanuary 1, 1985
StadiumCotton Bowl
LocationDallas, Texas
MVPSteve Strachan (FB, BC)
Bill Romanowski (LB, BC)
FavoriteBoston College by 6½ [1][2][3]
United States TV coverage
AnnouncersLindsey Nelson, Pat Haden,
and Ara Parseghian
Cotton Bowl Classic
 < 1984  1986

The 1985 Cotton Bowl Classic was a postseason college football bowl game played on New Year's Day in Dallas, Texas. It matched the independent Boston College Eagles and the unranked Houston Cougars of the Southwest Conference.[2][4]


Boston College quarterback Doug Flutie gained national attention in November 1984 when he led the Eagles to a 47–45 win at Miami,[5][6] in what would be called Hail Flutie. He left school as the NCAA’s all-time passing yardage leader with 10,579 yards,[4] a consensus All-American, and the first quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy in thirteen years.[7] This was BC's first Cotton Bowl appearance in 45 years, since January 1940.

Houston shared the Southwest Conference title for the first time since 1979. By virtue of their defeat of conference co-champion SMU during the season, the Cougars were invited to play in their first Cotton Bowl Classic in five years. SMU defeated Notre Dame in the Aloha Bowl on December 28; the Mustangs finished with ten wins and were eighth in the final AP poll.[8]

Game summary[edit]

The game time temperature was 32 °F (0 °C) with gusty winds, freezing rain, and the artificial turf was slick.[9][10][11]

The Eagles rolled to a 31–14 lead at halftime on Flutie's three touchdown passes (to three different receivers) and a Steve Strachan touchdown, despite the Cougars' two quick ways of scoring touchdowns, one of which occurring when Larry Shepherd caught a Gerald Landry pass for a touchdown with 22 seconds left in the half.[12][13]

Raymond Tate narrowed the lead with his touchdown late in the third quarter. Audrey McMillian intercepted a Flutie pass and returned it 25 yards to make it 31–27 as the third quarter ended. But the Eagles scored with 5:45 remaining on a Steve Strachan touchdown run. Troy Stradford sealed the game with a touchdown run with 1:06 to go as Boston College won their first Cotton Bowl.[14][15] The Eagles were 10–2 and climbed to fifth in the final AP poll.[8]


Statistics Boston
First Downs 22 15
Rushes–Yards 50–357 42–202
Passing Yards 180 154
Passes 13–37–2 9–29–2
Total Yards 537 356
Punts–Average 8–29 10–33
Fumbles–Lost 2–1 3–2
Turnovers by 3 4
Penalties-Yards 7–64 7–66
Time of possession 34:41 25:19


Neither team has appeared in the Cotton Bowl Classic since this game.


  1. ^ "The latest line". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. January 1, 1985. p. 39.
  2. ^ a b "Cotton Bowl". Pittsburgh Press. December 31, 1984. p. D3.
  3. ^ "Betting line". Reading Eagle. (Pennsylvania). January 1, 1985. p. 15.
  4. ^ a b "Boston College, Flutie pound Houston, 45-28". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. January 2, 1985. p. 1, part 2.
  5. ^ "'Hail Mary' decides it, 47-45". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. November 24, 1984. p. 3C.
  6. ^ Underwood, John (December 3, 1984). "It wasn't a fluke. It was a Flutie". Sports Illustrated. p. 22.
  7. ^ "Flutie can believe it now: the Heisman is his". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. December 2, 1984. p. 1B.
  8. ^ a b "It's close, but Washington is No. 2". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). wire services. January 3, 1985. p. 19.
  9. ^ Freeman, Denne H. (January 2, 1985). "Flutie goes out a winner in Cotton Bowl, 42-28". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. p. B2.
  10. ^ Blaudschum, Mark (January 2, 1985). "BC reaches the summit with victory". Reading Eagle. (Pennsylvania). Dallas Morning News. p. 34.
  11. ^ Underwood, John (January 14, 1985). "And so it came to pass..." Sports Illustrated: 98.
  12. ^ a b Vescey, George (January 2, 1985). "Flutie ways farewell with victory, 45-28". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). (New York Times). p. 3C.
  13. ^ "Flutie struggles, but Eagles soar". The Bulletin. (Bend, Oregon). UPI. January 2, 1985. p. D2.
  14. ^ a b Sherrod, Blackie (January 2, 1985). "Flutie of Boston College fantastic before the flaws". Toledo Blade. (Ohio). (Dallas Morning News). p. 26.
  15. ^ http://media.attcottonbowl.com/resource/history/1985/rsrc/1985-Classic-Recap.pdf