FACTS & STATS: Site: Alumni Stadium (44,500) -- Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Maryland 2-2, Boston College 1-2. Away Record: Maryland 2-1, Boston College 0-4. Neutral Record: Maryland 0-0, Boston College 0-0. Conference Record: Maryland 2-1, Boston College 0-4. Series Record: Boston College leads 6-3.
GAME NOTES: It's back to the drawing board yet again for the Boston College Eagles as they try to stop a losing streak against the Maryland Terrapins in an Atlantic Coast Conference matchup at Alumni Stadium.
After winning a total of three games last season, Maryland has already gathered more wins this year with a 4-3 overall record. However the Terrapins are coming off a tough 20-18 loss to NC State. The loss came on the heels of back-to-back victories for the Terps, who have won consecutive games twice this season. The loss to NC State was also the first in conference play for the Terps, who are 2-1 against ACC competition.
Other than a 34-3 rout of FCS opponent Maine, this season has been rather dismal for Boston College. The Eagles are 1-6 overall and have lost five straight games. In the last two contests the Eagles have been outscored 88-24 in setbacks on the road against Florida State and Georgia Tech. Paired with earlier losses to Clemson and Miami-Florida, the Eagles sit at 0-4 in conference play and on the verge of being eliminated from bowl eligibility.
Boston College does have the edge in this game in terms of historical record. The Eagles are 6-3 all-time against Maryland including a 5-2 mark since joining the ACC in 2005. Boston College won last season's meeting at College Park 28-17, thanks to a 243-yard effort on the ground by Rolandan Finch.
Despite Maryland's improvement on last season's record the Terps have been a less than effective offensive squad in 2012. Maryland is ranked last in both total offense (295.3 ypg) and scoring offense (21.3 ppg) in the ACC this season. The team has scored only 18 touchdowns, also an ACC-low, and is converting only 75 percent of its red zone trips into scores.
Freshman Perry Hills had done a solid job after being forced into action to start the season with an injury to presumed starter C.J. Brown, but will now miss the remainder of the year himself due to a knee injury. The team will now look to Devin Burns and Caleb Rowe to lead the way under center down the stretch.
The good news is that the Terps have one of the better young receivers in the ACC in freshman Stefon Diggs. Diggs has caught only 27 passes but has produced 514 yards and three touchdowns off of those catches. That equates to a 19.0- yards-per-reception average which is the fourth best in the ACC. Marcus Leak (23 receptions, 393 yards) is the only other receiver with more than 20 receptions or 160 yards.
Running the ball has not been as productive an aspect of Maryland's offense with the team rushing for just 90.6 yards per game. Wes Brown (271 yards) is coming off a big game last time out and the hope is that he can carry that over.
With the offense performing at such a low level it has fallen on the Maryland defense to keep the Terps in games. Thus far the unit has largely accomplished, that ranking second in the ACC and ninth nationally in total defense (288.4 ypg) and fourth in the ACC in scoring defense (20.3 ppg). The defense has had to be even more stout with how often the offense turns the ball over, with the Terps having the second worst turnover margin (-9) in the conference.
On defense Maryland's strengths are in the front seven. Defensive tackle Joe Vellano is the leader of the defense and has been stellar up front this season, recording a team-high 11.5 tackles for loss along with 47 total tackles and 3.5 sacks. Linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield leads the team with 64 tackles, 5.5 for loss, while Darin Drakeford leads the team with six sacks.
It is unlikely that Boston College will be able to rely on a big rushing effort from Finch this season, as he has taken a backseat to Andre Williams. Williams leads the team in rushing with 534 yards and four scores this season including a 99-yard touchdown run. Still like Maryland Boston College has been a weak team in terms of running the ball. The Eagles are better than only the Terps in rushing yards per game (93.1).
It has instead fallen to quarterback Chase Rettig and the passing game to move the ball in most games. Rettig has been relatively successful throwing for 1,917 yards and 13 touchdowns to just five interceptions. However with just a 56.3 completion percentage, he has not connected with his receivers at a high enough rate to really succeed.
Rettig does benefit from getting to throw to the second-most productive receiver in the ACC in Alex Amidon. Amidon has caught 48 passes for 806 yards and five touchdowns this season. Along with Clemson's DeAndre Hopkins he is the only player to average more than 100 yards per game. Unfortunately there is not much depth at the position behind him, with Johnathan Coleman (18 rec., 279 yards) the next most productive pass catcher.
The offense looks potent in comparison to the Eagles' defense which ranks last in the ACC in total yards (507.3 ypg) and scoring (33.3 ppg). The Eagles have been particularly weak against the run where they also rank last in the ACC, allowing 268.1 yards per game.
First-round draft pick Luke Kuechly certainly left behind some strong tacklers for Boston College. Nick Clancy has a conference-high 84 stops this season. Steele Divotto (66), Sean Sylvia (60) and Kevin Pierre-Louis (58) are each in the top 10 in the conference in the category as well, although it is easier to rack up tackles when opposing offenses are constantly on the field.
It has been a surprising start for Maryland but with the team's ability on defense the Terps have been able to compete. Boston College might not have the explosive offense that can test the Terps, but this may be the most winnable game left on the schedule for Rettig and company.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Boston College 20, Maryland 18Game Date and Time
Saturday, October 27, 1:00 p.m. (et)