With the college football regular season over, it is time for University of Maryland fans to look toward the postseason (yes, postseason). A win over Rutgers University Nov. 26 gave the Terrapins a 6-6 record and bowl eligibility for the first time since 2014. Sunday, it was made official: Maryland will face off against the Boston College Eagles (6-6) in the Quick Lane Bowl on Dec. 26.
Boston College should prove to be an interesting matchup for the Terps. According to NCAA.com, the Eagles have the eighth-best total defense in the country, and the seventh-best run defense, allowing just over 100 yards per game on the ground. Meanwhile, Maryland ranks near in the bottom half in total offense (94th), but in the top third in rushing offense (40th), thanks to sophomore running back Ty Johnson and the now-suspended freshman back Lorenzo Harrison III.
While Maryland’s offense has been up and down this season, Boston College’s has been all down. The Eagles rank 127th (out of 128) in the nation in total offense – only Rutgers, who was shut out twice this season, ranked below them. For a Terps’ defense that ranks 81st, stopping the Eagles should be a walk in the park after matching up against the likes of Ohio State University and Michigan State University last month.
Essentially, Boston College does one thing very well, and one thing terribly, while Maryland is about average in both. So what do the Terps need to do to pull out their first postseason win since a 2010 victory over East Carolina University in the Military Bowl?
“Talent-wise I think it is close to a wash,” junior music and communications major Matt Miller said. “When that is the case you have to stick to your strengths, which for the Terps is running the ball. And as always, limiting big plays and turnovers and penalties is important too.”
A tall task against a Boston College defense that has stifled the run all year, Maryland will need to get something going on the ground. The Terps’ running game has been the key to their success all season – they were 5-1 when they totaled at least 200 rushing yards but 1-5 when they did not. They will benefit from having a healthy Perry Hills under center, however, meaning if the ground game is not working, they have a reliable quarterback they can fall back on.
The good news for the Terps is that while holding opponents to very few yards, the Eagles will give up their share of points – 24.6 per game. This is significantly more than some of the other elite defenses the Terps have faced this season, namely Ohio State (14.2 points per game) and Michigan (12.8). Maryland, on average, scores 25.4 points per game, nearly identical to the amount that Boston College gives up.
The Eagles, meanwhile, average only 19.1 points per game, suggesting that if the Terps take advantage of opportunities on offense and make their defensive stops, they could walk away from the Quick Lane Bowl with a win, and a 7-6 season.
Kickoff for the Quick Lane Bowl is at 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 26 in Detroit.