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Boston College-Maryland Preview: Friedgen's Last Stand

Ralph Friedgen is running out of time. If you were to ask him, he wouldn't tell you that (though he might get very upset with you), but the longtime (comparatively) Maryland HC very well might be coaching his last game for the Terrapins this Saturday. For this reason alone, I'm hoping for a competitive matchup, but honestly, I don't entirely expect one.

Boston College Offense vs. Maryland Defense: If there's one area Maryland should be confident in, it's defending Boston College, especially through the air. QB Dave Shinskie hasn't looked good in weeks (not since the Florida State game in the beginning of October) and his past couple of outings against decent teams have been nothing less than horrendous - against UNC last week he was 12/28 for 101 yards with 4 INTs. BC ranks 116th in passes had intercepted (the fewer the better) and 99th in passing offense; controlling that area of the game shouldn't be a problem, even for an embattled secondary

Cameron Chism, who's quietly had a solid sophomore year, should come up with at least one pick; he seems to do well against below-average QBs. You'd think that Jamari McCollough and Terrell Skinner, in their final game, would come up big, too. Shinskie should make it easy for them.

On the flip side to the terrible air game is a pretty dangerous running attack, headed by overlooked Montel Harris. While Harris is capable of laying eggs (Notre Dame, VT) but is also capable of dropping huge games (179 against FSU, 250+ against N.C. St.). Against a rush defense ranked 71st in the nation, I'd bet that this game would be one of the latter. Harris, who has 1213 yards on 5 ypc, is a bit remiscient of Davin Meggett - built more like a scat back, but has surprising power. His balance will make it tough for a weak Maryland front 7 to stop him. Alex Wucjiak will need to have a big game as Maryland's primary run defender if the Terps are to stay close - BC leans on Harris, and leans on him hard.

Maryland Offense vs. Boston College Defense: A team with an offense incapable of consistently passing the ball won't go far unless they have a great defense, and because Boston College is headed to a bowl game, they probably have a really good defense. They're in the top 25 in run defense and in the top half in pass defense; they're a balanced defense without a big weakness. They're 28th in scoring defense, too, and that only gets better if you look at teams of Maryland's offensive caliber. UVA put up 10; Central Michigan had 10 as well; N.C. St. scored  20; FSU 21. Maryland, worse than all those teams in terms of putting up points, will have to have a very out-of-character offensive explosion to have any shot.

The good news is that if Maryland decides to go with the injured, questionable Chris Turner on senior day (as they should, in my opinion, if he's ready to go), they won't have to worry as much about his lack of mobility. Turner's not the fleetest of foot, which has caused major issues in the past, but BC is just 108th in sacks; without sack monster Mark Herzlich, their front 7 is adequate at not letting teams run over them and keeping up just enough pressure to not leave their DBs out to dry. They lack, however, a big game-changing sack monster, so they rarely get into the backfield; Turner shouldn't get pummeled.

The thing about BC's defense is that - outside of getting to the QB - they do everything well. There's no real weakness, but no dominating strength. Maryland should be able to move the ball some against them, but putting up a lot of points may be a challenge. A complication of BC's solid rushing attack is that they'll be able to run the clock and control the game - when Maryland gets an opportunity, they'll have to take it, because they won't get too many.

FWIW, if Turner's healthy, he'll probably start, which is probably the right choice. Love him or hate him, he's done a lot for this program during his time here, and deserves to start on senior day. I'm still expecting a lot of PT for Jamarr Robinson, who also deserves it, but Turner earns the start if he can.

Prediction: Boston College 21, Maryland 17. I'm changing it up from a few days ago. Maryland scores ten in the first half on the strength of two long Da'Rel Scott stretch runs while BC racks up just 7. Shinskie throws a pick six on BC's first drive the second half, but it's all Boston College from there. Harris takes over and BC scores two TDs in the second half to win it.

I have no reason for this being as detailed as it was.