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From the archives

Holy Cross routs BC 55-12 at Fenway

Eagles’ Sugar Bowl hopes are crushed

Johnny Bezemes, the ball carrier, scored three times for Holy Cross. Holy Cross Photo via Worcester Telegram And Gazette

Boston College met its football Dunkerque yesterday.

An awesome Holy Cross team drove the previously unbeaten Eagles right into the sea, hammered them unmercifully throughout the action, and ran up the incredible score of 55-12 on a team that had one foot in the Sugar Bowl two hours earlier.

It was a colossal reversal of form and it wasn’t encumbered by any fluke or any miscarriage of justice of any pranks of fate. The young men from Worcester simply left the wreckage of the Boston College line all over Fenway Park, and in the midst of the debris left only one glittering, dauntless, daring figure of a man -- Mike Holovak.


The Crusaders advanced like a forest fire all the day. They scored eight touchdowns, five by running and three by forward passing. Capt. Eddie Murphy converted seven of the right gift points, and led his team as few Holy Cross teams have ever been led.

Bezemes scores three times

The touchdowns were scored by Bobby Sullivan, sophomore, from North Andover, Johnny Bezemes of Peabody (3), John Grigas of Chelsea (2), Capt. Eddie Murphy of Lowell, and Bubbles Natowich of Ansonia, Conn. And, boys, they were scored with great authority.

It was one of those things you had to see for yourself to really believe. It was the rabbit turning to pursue the wolf. Veterans of the bleak midfield press box, on the lip of the ball park roof, were stunned and at a loss to explain the 1-to-14 long shot turning with a snarl and tearing the favorite limb from limb.

The cohorts of the Crusader, made with joy, staggered around for hours afterward in a state of mental intoxication, rushed up and down the streets of the city in a delirium of ecstasy over the total of points ever scored in the 40-year series.


Later in the night after Holy Cross’ victory, a fire killed more than 500 people at the nearby Cocoanut Grove nightclub. Handout photo

And the 55 points were bombed through and over a team that for eight games had led the nation in total defense, as well as offense and topped the Associated Press poll. It was a first-class job of house wrecking.

A sell out crowd of 41,300 saw Holy Cross completely obliterate any chance at all of the Eagles going to the Sugar or any other bowl by scoring in the first five minutes of play, piling up a 20-6 lead at halftime and quickly amend a fourth and fifth touchdown after intermission.

They saw the Eagles, paced by the indomitable and more All-America than ever Holovak, charge up and down the field only to stagger or stumble or fumble, or have the irrepressible John Bezemes intercept one of their passes.

Crusaders keep driving

Holy Cross never let up from the time Bobby Sullivan, sophomore fullback, made a fourth-down plunge for two feet after five minutes of play, catapulting into the B.C. end zone for the first points of the day, until Andrew (Bubby) Natowich skittered seven yards on an in-and-out tackle play and the eighth touchdown midway through the last period.

Between times the Crusaders simply went beserk.

Holy Cross played like Boston College was supposed to have played. That was Boston College, with its railroad and hotel reservations made, its travel itinerary planned and double-checked -- that’s how the Eagles were spitted and cooked to a crisp at the ball park.

It was Holy Cross that looked like the bowl candidate, the Crusaders who ran and passes and tackled and blocked like a Sugar Bowl team.


Explain it? A victory by an underdog in a traditional contest is easy enough to explain. There simply ain’t no such animal as an underdog, a 1-to-4 tailender in this sort of series. But 55 points against the nation’s No. 1 defensive football team is something nobody, not even Ank Scanlan, can explain.

Weeks ago, when the B.C. student section, in blood-curdling cries, was screaming at victory after victory: “Pour it on! Hit ‘em harder! Give it to Mike!” I wrote that I hoped, when and if the day came, they’d be able to “take it.”

Well, they can. They took it standing up and their chins stuck out, and so did their football team. It was a horrible thing to have to stand and take. But, golly, they did it. They’re still champs in my book!