How do you as a new member of the family fit yourself in the mix? You either stand out enough that everyone follows you or you become one of the followers. In the case of Maryland, it appears they have the Big Ten postseason playbook down pat.
What could be more Big Ten in bowl game season than losing after all?
That’s what the Terps did, dropping a sloppy and at times difficult to watch 36-30 loss to Boston College in the Quick Lane Bowl.
About the only thing that wasn’t very Big Ten-like was the high-scoring nature of this contest. That’s not to say defense didn’t play a big role, because it would be defensive plays made at opportune times that made this game high-scoring.
Boston College’s ability to turn four Maryland turnovers in to 10 points proved pivotal in the loss.
Just how sloppy was this game for the Terps offense though?
Maryland gave up eight sacks, 14 tackles for loss, were called for 11 penalties as a team and committed four turnovers. It was a miracle that things seemed as close as they did on the scoreboard as the game went final.
That’s because the Terps defense couldn’t find a way to get key stops when needed as well. Boston College put up 177 yards on the ground and 348 yards of total offense in what was expected to be a highly defensive affair.
The Terps were awful for large parts of the game, including racking up a single yard of offense after one quarter. It didn’t get much better defensively in the first half, as Boston College held a 29-13 lead at the half.
Despite the sputtering offensive start, things heated up for the Terps offense in the second quarter in large part thanks to sophomore running back Ty Johnson. He needed just 15 carries to put up 159 yards and two touchdowns, helping him top the 1,000-yard mark for the year.
Johnson did most of his damage trying desperately to get Maryland back in the game after Boston College raced out to a 16-0 lead. First it was a 62-yard rush just over a minute after BC kicked a field goal to go up 16-0.
He then made it 23-13 on a 30-yard scamper to pay dirt on the Terps next possession.
Yet, Maryland’s day was perhaps summed up best by what took place on either side of halftime. With two chances to set the tone for things to come, a 10-point game became a three-possession game as BC scored a touchdown with just 35 seconds left in the first half.
The Eagles didn’t let off the gas out of the half at the Quick Lane Bowl, taking all of two minutes to jump on a Terps turnover and literally turn it in to immediate points thanks to a forced fumble from quarterback Perry Hills at the Terps’ own 1-yard line.
BC jumped on the ball in the end zone for a touchdown and a 36-13 lead and would never need another point.
If you enjoy sloppy football, the fourth quarter was certainly for you. That’s because we saw a Terps interception of BC quarterback Patrick Towels followed by a lost fumble and then a fumble recovery of its own.
All of that in a matter of five plays, including three penalties on consecutive plays (two from Maryland and one from Boston College). Let’s just say this wasn’t a quarter or a bowl game for anyone outside of the diehards of these two teams.
In the end, none of that would matter as BC’s 23-point lead to start the third quarter proved too much for Maryland to overcome. Yet, head coach D.J. Durkin saw plenty of positives out of what everyone else saw as a brutal sight to have beheld.
“We’re 6-and-7 now, so that’s certainly not what we’re shooting for.” Durkin said following the Quick Lane Bowl loss. “There’s a lot of positives. There’s a lot of guys who got better, who played a lot of football for us that were maybe not ready yet to play but we had to play them. The good part moving forward is they have that experience under their belt. There’s certainly a lot to grow from and move forward with our guys, understand our system and how we do things.”
That may have placated Durkin, but about the only good news from this loss was Maryland showing it wasn’t going to lie down and take a beating anymore. It fought hard in the second half, nearly completing the comeback but just simply didn’t have enough.
Considering the depths of this program heading in to Durkin’s first season, getting to a bowl game was nothing short of an unexpected treat in College Park. Now the work of making this team from bowl eligible to really and truly competitive in the Big Ten East division begins.
If the bowl game was any indication, there will be plenty for this team to work on come this offseason.