The Maryland football team made mistakes at the most inopportune of times on Saturday afternoon against Boston College. Coupled with a bad decision by Terrapins coach Randy Edsall to ice Eagles kicker Nate Freese, Boston College upended Maryland in dramatic fashion with a 29-26 victory on the home team’s Senior Day.
Through the first three quarters, Maryland played very fundamentally sound football from a defensive standpoint. The Terps bottled up Boston College star running back Andre Williams. They were getting significant penetration into the Eagles backfield and were forcing Boston College to throw the football quite a bit in the opening quarter. In fact, Eagles quarterback Chase Rettig only had one completion in the first half.
Maryland’s offense got it going early in the third quarter, With 11:18 remaining and the Terps facing a 2nd-and-10 at the Eagles 33-yard line, quarterback C.J. Brown throw a gorgeous deep ball to wideout Amba Etta-Tawo for a touchdown, which gave Maryland a 17-10 lead.
Early in the fourth quarter, Brown drove the Terps on a 33-yard drive that resulted in him taking it for a touchdown. Maryland had a 24-13 lead and looked to be in the driver’s seat.
However, Williams isn’t a Heisman trophy candidate for no reason. Despite being held somewhat in check for the opening three quarters, the Boston College star halfback responded by taking a handoff up the middle and bounced it to the outside for a 72-yard touchdown run. That was the Eagles’ first play from scrimmage following the Brown touchdown.
About five minutes later, a sequence of football occurred that would baffle even the most experienced of football fans. Rettig let a deep ball fly that connected with wide receiver Alex Amidon for a wide open 74-yard catch-and-run. But why was Amidon so wide open? Maryland defensive backs William Likely and Anthony Nixon collided in the secondary, allowing Amidon to break free.
On the point-after attempt, Freese’s kick was blocked by the Terps and Nixon made up for his blunder on the touchdown. Nixon caught the blocked kick out of the air and ran the ball back for a two-point conversion for Maryland, which tied the game at 26 with 5:02 remaining in the game.
Maryland was unable to take the ball down and get close to field goal range for kicker Brad Craddock.
That set the stage for Williams to work his magic once again. With just 44 seconds remaining, Williams ran for a back-breaking 36-yard gain and put Boston College in position to potentially win the game.
With just two seconds left, Freese lined up for the field goal attempt and pushed it wide right. Unfortunately for Maryland, Edsall called that devastating timeout that proved to be a mistake.
As much as Maryland fans may want to put this loss on Edsall’s decision to ice the kicker, the Terps didn’t lose this game on that one play. Maryland left several points on the board. Early in the fourth quarter, running back Jacquille Veii fumbled at the Eagles 11-yard line when he was stood up by a host of Boston College defenders. If Veii would’ve just given up on the play and just fell to the turf, the Terps may have punched the ball in for a touchdown or at the very least, kicked a field goal.
Another example is the fact that Maryland only had 29 yards of total offense in the first quarter. Despite putting 10 points on the board and having an early 10-3 lead, Maryland’s longest drive was a seven-play, 27-yard effort that resulted in a Craddock field goal. The only reason the Terps even scored a touchdown was thanks to a Boston College miscue. Rettig had the ball snapped behind him and linebacker Marcus Whitfield recovered the football at the 1-yard line. Running back Albert Reid ended up leaping into the end zone for the game’s first touchdown. However, the offense execution was truly poor throughout a good portion of the game. If Maryland establishes any consistency in the early-going, maybe they’re not fighting for their lives late in the game.
We can play the ifs and buts game and throw blame on Edsall. However, the fact of the matter is that Maryland had their fair share of struggles and it cost them in the end.