(DETROIT, MI) – Maryland is still looking for a win over Boston College, a drought dating back to 2010 and a 24-21 win at Chestnut Hill. The Eagles, yesterday afternoon at Ford Field, posted a 36-30 win, leading from start to finish in what could have been a blow out at the 2016 Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit.
Jon Hilliman capped off an 11-play drive by BC with a 1-yard run into the Maryland end zone to open the scoring at 6:52 of the 1st quarter. That would complete the scoring in the first 15 minutes as Mike Knoll’s extra point attempt was blocked by the out-stretched hand of DL Chandler Burkett.
Boston College added 23 more points in the 2nd quarter beginning when QB Patrick Towles complete a 2-yard pass to TE Tommy Sweeney for a touchdown. In addition to the convert, Knoll split the uprights for a field goal.
The Eagles then displayed some razzle-dazzle as Towles pitched out to WR Jeff Smith who, in turn, completed a 20-yard pass and run to Towles for a touchdown. In the final minute of the half, Towles connected with WR Michael Walker on a 49-yard completion. An illegal formation on Knoll’s convert attempt pushed BC back 5 yards and the second try was pushed wide.
In the meantime, the Terrapins managed a TD when QB Perry Hills handed off to RB Ty Johnson, who left the Eagles defenders behind in a 62-yard scamper for the major. Johnson then logged another long run for a score when he took the ball 30 yards for a touchdown.
The 2-point conversion was unsuccessful leaving the teams at 29-13 going into the dressing rooms.
Early in the 3rd quarter, DT Noa Merritt interrupted a handoff between Hills and Johnson allowing DE Kevin Kavalec to drop on the ball in the Terp’s end zone.
“Yeah, I don’t know,” said Terrapins head coach DJ Durkin. “I’ll have to look at the film, too. I don’t know who’s fault, the ball was getting up or not, if it was Perry, I don’t know. It’s hard to see that stuff full speed on the field. But yeah, at the end of the day that can’t happen.”
Hills then led Maryland in a comeback attempt. Their 3rd major came on another big strike when he completed a 63-yard pass to WR Teldrick Morgan. Down by 16, Hills then hit WR Levern Jacobs for a 52-yard major to pull the Terrapins to within nine points.
“Give credit to them. I thought they looked dynamic and fast and they made some big plays,” said Boston College head coach Steve Addazio. “That popped them back in the game, boom-boom just like that. Then on offense, we were kind of like fishtailing right there just a little bit”
The closest they could manage, however, was a what became a meaningless 4th quarter field goal from the foot of PK Adam Greene.
“We need to get the ball in the end zone. The ball is in the half-yard line, you’ve got to get the ball in the end zone let alone turn it over,” said Durkin.
With under 2 minutes on the clock, Maryland turned the ball over on downs and Towles ran the time down to the celebration.
“Obviously extremely tough loss, first I want to give credit to Boston College and their coaching staff,” said Durkin. “They obviously had their guys prepared and coached a good game, played a good game. We made far too many mistakes to win a game”
Towles finished the game 10 for 22 with 1 pick and 151 yards. His Terrapin counterpart, Hills, was 15 of 35 with one interception and 229 yards. It was no wonder that the Eagles defensive line was named the collective player of the game.
Maryland turned the ball over 3 times on 5 fumbles, converted just 4 times on 3rd down and struck out twice on 4th down attempts. Hills was sacked 7 times in the game. Maryland’s afternoon was highlighted when, as the culmination of a 12-play, 16-yard drive lasting 5:10, ended up with nothing to show for it but a turnover.
Johnson led all rushers with 15 carries for 159 and 2 TDs.
“He’s done it all year. He’s consistently been a big-play guy for us all year,” said Durkin. “He does have that ability, he’s a young guy and still learning and getting better. We’re certainly excited about him and a lot of guys at that position moving forward”
Towles, who was the 4th leading rusher on his team this season, had just 14 yards on 12 tries. Hilliman was the leading back for Boston College, picking up 79 yards and 1 TD on 29 carries.
“I thought Jon Hilliman ran well today. I thought there’s just a good mixture with the receivers,” Addazio said. “Pat (Towles) threw the ball well and I just thought I liked what I saw and I like where that will lead for us”
The win was Boston College’s first bowl victory since 2007, a 0-5 postseason run.
“You know, it was our third bowl appearance in four years and first bowl victory at BC in nine years and I think really set the stage for a good finale of the season and where we’re going to head as we move forward,” said Addazio.