Boston College head coach Steve Addazio gave a message to his team after its 37-31 upset of then-No. 9 USC on Saturday night that would be a great video in its own right. Addazio spoke to his players about how proud he was of them, to not let one game define them, about always being the best version of themselves.
Great as that was, it was not the most inspirational thing to happen in the Boston College locker room on Saturday night.
The Eagles traded their traditional maroon for red on Saturday to honor former B.C. lacrosse player Welles Crowther, a first responder who lost his life while trying to save others in the horrible aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Crowther's personal trademark was his red bandanna, so the BC football team wore gloves, cleats and helmets adorned with that familiar red bandanna pattern.
USC entered the week as 20-point favorites, and looked the part in opening up a 10-0 lead through one quarter. From that moment on, though, Boston College owned the game. The Eagles outscored USC 27-7 over the next two quarters and then held on for the 37-31 victory, outrushing the Trojans by an astounding 452-20.
Great as that win was, the best part of the night came in the locker room. Following Adazzio, the parents of Welles Crowther, father Jefferson and mother Allison, addressed the team.
"You have honored us greatly, truly greatly. Just to stand here in front of you and look at your faces, and see the determination that's there.... I was just so proud of you, so proud of you. I know for my wife Allison, it means so much to us," Jefferson said.
"The courage and determination you showed out there on the field, and the teamwork, that went on out there on the field was breathtaking," added Welles' mother, Allison. "We know that the odds were against you coming out here. We read all the stories. We heard all the news. And I said, 'Yeah, but they haven't played the game yet.' And this was great. What you did tonight was terrific."
Jefferson summed the night up perfectly. Looking down at a room full of players wearing shoes honoring his son, Jefferson Crowther simply said, "I love these frickin' shoes."