Maryland Football: Getting to know Boston College

Oct 24, 2015; Louisville, KY, USA; Louisville Cardinals quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) runs the ball against Boston College Eagles defensive lineman Harold Landry (8) during the second quarter at Papa John
Oct 24, 2015; Louisville, KY, USA; Louisville Cardinals quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) runs the ball against Boston College Eagles defensive lineman Harold Landry (8) during the second quarter at Papa John /

The Maryland football team certainly had a long road to get to bowl eligibility in 2016.

However, the Terrapins got the job done in their season finale against Rutgers in a 31-13 victory.

On Sunday afternoon, Maryland learned the specifics of their impending bowl matchup. It was learned that D.J. Durkin and his team would be traveling to Detroit on Dec. 26 to face Boston College in the Quick Lane Bowl.

This is the Terps’ first bowl game since facing Stanford in the 2014 Foster Farms Bowl. Maryland lost to the Cardinal 45-21 in the second postseason contest under former coach Randy Edsall.

That was the last game in the career of star wideout Stefon Diggs. The former Good Counsel (Md.) standout caught 10 passes for 138 yards and went on to be selected in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings.

The Quick Lane Bowl may not be the cream of the crop as far as bowl games go. However, it’s a positive to see Durkin double the 2015 win total and continue the upward climb of the program.

Season in a nutshell

Boston College had a similar season to that of Maryland.

The Eagles posted a 4-0 mark during nonconference play. The portion featured wins over Buffalo, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Wagner, which is certainly no tough task.

This is a team that finished with a 6-6 record and just two of those wins came during ACC play. They were outscored 202-24 in their losses to Clemson, Florida State, Louisville, and Virginia Tech.

Boston College did manage to finish the season off strong with wins over UConn and Wake Forest. A 17-14 narrow victory over the Demon Deacons got the Eagles to bowl eligibility.

In the win against Wake Forest, Boston College only had 167 yards of total offense, but won the game based on their defense. They did all that with just 74 passing yards from quarterback Patrick Towles.

Simply put: this is a team that wins with defense.

Players to watch

Patrick Towles (quarterback) – Towles transferred to Boston College after three seasons at Kentucky. In 2016, he had his lowest completion percentage (51.0) during his three years as a starter. He’s not exactly a gunslinger, but Towles definitely can take shots down the field. He’s also very mobile as he rushed for 280 yards and four touchdowns on the season. The former Wildcat can surely make plays when he has to.

Jon Hilliman (running back) – The Eagles don’t exactly boast a prolific offensive attack, but Hilliman is one of the more explosive backs in the ACC. He has a tremendous vision and can really accelerate through holes even given the opportunity. He only appeared in four games in 2015 due to injury and struggled at times in 2016. However, when he has the ball in his hands, he can flat-out make plays.

Harold Landry (defensive end) – Landry is about as disruptive a force as you’re going to find in the country. In fact, he set the Boston College single-season record for sacks (15) this season. He’s also forced seven fumbles, so he certainly likes to be around the football. Landry is extremely quick off the edge, so the Maryland tackles will have their hands full.

Biggest strength

Boston College stops the run very well. They’re only surrendering 3.3 yards-per-carry and the second-fewest yards-per-game in the ACC (106.9). Landry and company have also forced the second-most turnovers in the conference (23). The Eagles definitely make life difficult for opposing teams and that will keep the Terps on their heels in the Motor City.

Biggest weakness

If Boston College is going to beat Maryland, it’s probably not going to be thanks to their skill position players. The Eagles average just 19.1 points, which is the worst in the ACC. They’ve only scored 28 touchdowns the entire season. Towles isn’t a terrible quarterback, but he doesn’t exactly have a ton of weapons around him.