After getting beaten by Clemson by 24 points, Maryland keeps the show on the road with a game against Boston College. Maryland currently stands at 4-2 overall and 1-1 in the conference,going 0-2 in true road games against West Virginia and Clemson. Boston College is 2-4 and 0-3 in the ACC, losing their last four games and being 2-2 when at home. Both will rely on a quarterback in their first year in this contest.
It is hard to take good things out of a 31-7 loss, but Maryland should be fine with certain adjustments. The Terps outgained the Tigers on offense by over 100 yards and first downs by five, but the intangibles destroyed Maryland, mainly with terrible special teams play and allowing a pick six late in the fourth quarter. But with Danny O’ Brien established as Maryland’ s quarterback and a lesser opponent coming up, this is a strong chance for Maryland to steal an ACC contest on the road.
Maryland offense against Boston College defense:
Danny O’ Brien passed for over 300 yards against Clemson, and despite three interceptions, looked strong at times despite not having an effective rushing attack all game. Add to the fact that Torrey Smith, Maryland’ s most dangerous player on the field, has been nursing a sore ankle and may still not be at 100%. But the Terps attempted 47 passes and rushed the ball 22 times, and do not expect Maryland’ s gameplan to be much different. Boston College has the best rush defense in the ACC, allowing just 2.8 yards a rush, but has the 2nd-worst pass defense in the conference, giving up nearly 240 yards in the air each contest. The Terps have to be concerned about the running game, as Da’ Rel Scott has not had over 60 yards in any contest except when he got over 100 yards against Florida International. Davin Meggett has been slightly better but
has not been as much more effective against the ACC.
Expect Boston College to come at Maryland with many blitzes due to the troubles with Maryland’ s offensive line and a freshman quarterback. Sophomore linebacker Luke Kuechly is always around the ball, averaging 13.7 tackles per game, which is double more than anyone else on the team. The line will also have to deal with 6’ 5” 251 lbs senior end Alex Albright, who has 3.5 sacks and nine tackles for loss. And of course the big story this year for Boston College’ s defense is the return of Mark Herzlich after winning his fight with bone cancer.
Boston College offense against Maryland defense:
Montel Harris will be getting the ball early and often, with 122 carries for 578 yards on the season, giving him 4.7 yards a carry, the best in the ACC, plus he is just 65 yards away from rushing for 3,000 yards in his BC career. No other BC player has more than 16 carries. Add to the fact BC will be starting a quarterback, true freshman Chase Rettig, who went 9-for-24 with no touchdowns last week against Florida State. Rettig will only be making his third appearance in a game and has only 34 of the 188 passing attempts of the team this season. Maryland is in the middle of the pack on pass and rush defense in the conference, so expect Boston College to keep with their normal gameplan. Their main threat in the air is freshman Bobby Swigert, who has 16 catches with 270 yards.
For Maryland, look for them to keep players near the line of scrimmage to contain the BC running game, especially dealing with a freshman quarterback. Alex Wujciak has at least eight tackles in five of six contests and is second in the ACC in total tackles per game, to only Kuechly. Sophomore Joe Vellano could be depended upon to make big plays against the run and the pass with five sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss this year. The Terps may also use Kenny Tate on the blitz if they feel BC can’ t establish a deep threat.
Other Relevant Items:
Maryland dealt with numerous special teams issues last week, and needs to fix it up. Thankfully, Boston College’ s returners are nothing special, with DeLeon Gause and Chris Fox in the lower tier of the conference. The Eagles punts have a few more net yards than Maryland, but overall should not be much different.
It is hard to believe, but Maryland has not made a field goal in three games. Travis Baltz has only had two attempts in that time, but both were missed, including one from 33 yards. Before then he had been fine, hitting two 47-yarders against Morgan State, but he has not been reliable lately, and if Nick Ferrera is still hurt, Baltz will have to step up again. On the other side, Boston College’ s Nate Freese has been solid, going 9-9 on kicks inside 35 yards and 12-14 overall, with his longest being 49 yards against Notre Dame.
–The fact is this might be the best chance Maryland has to win a road conference game, with the possible exception being against Virginia. The Terps need to limit the time of possession of Boston College due to the running game grinding out the clock. But, I believe Maryland will take the victory in a very close game.
Predicted score: Maryland 21, Boston College 20