It'd been said multiple times over the week leading up to the Maryland-Boston College game: it'd been over two years since the Terps had won a true road game. It was time to get the monkey off their back, they said. And thanks to three forced turnovers in the first half and a late fourth-down stop to stave off a comeback, they did just that, topping Boston College in Chestnut Hill 24-21. Maryland rises to 5-2 on the season and 2-1 in the ACC, leaving them just one win shy of bowl eligibility with five opportunities to get it.
Safety Antwine Perez accounted for three first half turnovers, Tony Logan set up Maryland with a short field on a 32-yard punt return, and Danny O'Brien threw three first half touchdowns - all three drives starting on the BC side of midfield - to give Maryland a 21-7 lead going into halftime. After Travis Baltz tacked on a FG, BC used two long passes by Chase Rettig to set up short running TDs of 1 and 3 yards by Montel Harris to make it close. One of the passes was a blown coverage; the other, a 61-yard completion to Bobby Swigert that bounced off Ifeanyi Momah's hands, was a pure fluke. The two TDs cut Maryland's lead from 14 to just 3 with about 7 minutes left.
Maryland and Boston College traded a few failed possessions until BC had a 4th and 1 on their own 44 with just over a minute to go. BC gave the ball to Harris, who rushed for 124 yards on the day, but Adrian Moten and Joe Vellano tackled him for no game, BC turned the ball over, and Maryland took a few knees to leave Boston with a win.
It wasn't a pretty game; Maryland's offense scored all of their TDs on short fields, and their FG-scoring drive started on their own 48. The defense was solid and took advantage of BC's many mistakes, but they started making mistakes in the second half and were hurt by a few untimely penalties. The offense made the most of their few short fields, but couldn't produce when they were in their own territory.
When it was all said and done, though, it was a win, and a road win at that. You take those any way you get them, even if they're against bad ACC teams.
Maryland's safeties were the stars of the day for the Terps, with Antwine Perez intercepting two passes and recovering a fumble, which fellow S Kenny Tate forced in the first half. The turnovers were game-changing: the first two resulted in Maryland scores, and the third stopped a Boston College drive in Maryland territory. For good measure, Tate tacked on 8 tackles - 7 of them solo - Maryland's only sack of the day, and the game-winning tackle.
On the other side of the ball, Maryland was more efficient than anything else. They utilized a short field on all three of their first half touchdowns; each of them started on the BC side of the 50. Danny O'Brien threw three red zone touchdowns to Torrey Smith, Ronnie Tyler, and Kerry Boykins, with the running game playing a highly secondary role. O'Brien was average statistically - 27-40, 182 yards - but great in reality; he made his reads, even under pressure, avoided mistakes, and most of his throws were delivered on target. He's well beyond his years.
I still have concerns about Torrey Smith, who was force-fed the ball - 9 catches - but did nothing with it - just 37 yards. And the running game was stifled all day, with Davin Meggett and Da'Rel Scott totaling just 58 yards on a whopping 24 carries. That's mostly the fault of the OL, but Maryland needs to figure something out; it makes it nearly impossible to run the clock when the Terps have to.
More coming tomorrow, especially on the playcalling - which was, surprisingly, better than expected - and the offensive line - post-DeSouza, they weren't half-bad - but for now, this team stands at 5-2 with UVA and Wake Forest still on the schedule. They don't have to play Georgia Tech, UNC, or Virginia Tech. For as average as Maryland's been, seven wins might be a probability at this point.