NOVEMBER 28, 1942--A football game that every Holy Cross football fan should never forget.
This game between the storied Jesuit rivals, the pagans (haha) from Boston College and the loyal sons from Holy Cross, was played at Fenway Park. While Fenway may now be home to Red Sox Nation, on this blustery day back in 1942 it was filled with college football fans from all over New England and far beyond that as well. The estimated attendance was 40,000 but as the years went by you would have thought every citizen in Worcester County witnessed "the greatest football game ever played."
Boston College came into this year end rivalry game with an unblemished record and a top national ranking. Led by The Brain, Eddie Doherty, the BC Eagles not only won their games but they took no prisoners in doing so. The lopsided nature of all their scores certainly allowed a few of the 'Eagle fans' to pick up a few extra bucks along the way. I distinctly recall a number of my boyhood pals salivating before the BC-HC game thinking that this would be'easy money'.
While BC had run roughshod over their opponents, the loyal sons of Holy Cross had a decidedly mediocre record. Many of the Boston faithful believed the game would be a mere formality. In many regards, the game did become a formality, although certainly not as anybody had expected. In fact, thinking back upon it, there are moments when I still can not believe the near perfect performance displayed by the boys in Purple. It was truly unbelievable and pure delight.
The Crusaders could not be stopped and absolutely dominated the entire game.
The backfield play of Grigas and Bezemes truly excelled, both in running and passing. However, as every true football fan knows, the game is won and lost along the line of scrimmage and it was on that line of battle that the Cross turned the game into a rout. In the process, the legend of one George Connor was born.
This young Irish stud from Chicago, along with his sidekick Jim Landrigan, manhandled the Eagles and their legendary lineman Gil Bouley. Whether it was trap left, trap right, straight up the gut, or around end, the boy wonder from the Windy City George Connor led the Purple up and down the field.
The Cross led at halftime either by a score of 20-0 or 20-6. My memory of close to 69 years is not clear on this fact. However, the score of the first half was not important.
The Cross as a team and Connor especially just got stronger and stronger andthrashed the Eagles throughout the second halfscoring another 35 points. Any thoughts of mercy or feelings of pity for the boys from Boston were very short lived.
The final score of 55-12 will remain etched in my memory forever. The performance of George Connor will as well.
I would maintain that this game is still the greatest upset in the history of college football.
The tragedy of The Cocoanut Grove fire that November night certainly put everything in perspective but the legend of one George Connor was borne that afternoon and I was there to see it.
I look forward to the evening of September 1st, when George Connor will take his rightful spot in the Holy Cross Ring of Honor. He deserves it based upon his performance alone on November 28. 1942.
Bill Doyle '48
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