The Quick Lane Bowl appears to be an even matchup in almost every sense.
Maryland football and Boston College are 87th and 88th, respectively, in Bill Connelly’s S&P+ rankings, which give each team a 50 percent chance of winning. Each comes in at 6-6, looking to finish the season above .500 far away from home.
The Terps and the Eagles are familiar opponents. They’ve played 11 times, though only some seniors were around for the last time they lined up against each other in 2013, a 29-26 BC victory. Monday’s game at Ford Field in Detroit could be just as close.
Maryland head coach DJ Durkin and Boston College top man Steve Addazio know each other pretty well. Addazio hired Durkin at Florida in 2009, and had plenty of nice things to say about him prior to the game.
The teams kick off at 2:30 on ESPN. Mark Neely, Ray Bentley and Alex Corddry have the call.
Boston College Eagles (6-6, 2-6 ACC)
2015 record: 3-9
Head coach: Steve Addazio
F/+ ranking: 93 (Maryland is 97)
Five-year recruiting ranking: 66
Players to watch
Harold Landry, DE, junior, 6’3/250, No. 7. Landry is BC’s disruptor up front. He specializes in getting into opponents’ backfields. Landry’s racked up 15 sacks and 20 tackles for loss this season to go along with an incredible seven forced fumbles.
John Johnson, S, senior, 6’0/202, No. 9. Johnson is a big part of the Eagles’ run and pass defenses. He’s tied for the team lead in tackles with 55, which is rare for a defensive back. Johnson’s also made three interceptions to go along with seven passes defensed.
Connor Strachan, LB, junior, 6’0/237, No. 13. Strachan is another force in BC’s front seven. He’s tied for the team lead in tackles with 55, including 3.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss.
Brian Towles, QB, senior, 6’5/253, No. 8. BC’s quarterback has had the kind of season one would expect from a team with one of the worst offenses in the country. Towles has a completion percentage of 51 and averages 5.2 yards per attempt.
Jon Hilliman, RB, sophomore, 6’0/229, No. 32. Hilliman hasn’t had many opportunities behind a line that ranks in the bottom eight in opportunity rate and adjusted line yards, which are some of the only statistics available to evaluate line play. This distort’s Hilliman’s stats. He averages only three yards per carry, but his highlight yards per opportunity (which measures how good he is at gaining yards when the line gives him a chance) is 5.2.
Run defense. The Eagles boast one of the best run defenses in the country. They rank sixth in defensive rushing S&P+, and their defensive line is especially adept at getting into opponents’ backfields.
Passing downs defense. When other teams get into obvious passing situations (second-and-8 or more, third-and-5 or more, or fourth-and-5 or more), Boston College is able to nail them down. The Eagles rank third in the country in passing downs defense, which seems to combine well with their run defense. If they stop you on the first few downs, they’re good at finishing the job.
Rushing offense. The Eagles have the second-worst rushing attack in all of FBS, according to S&P+. This’ll be up against the second-worst rushing defense in Maryland, so this should be an interesting battle.
Passing offense. Yeah, they aren’t so good at any part of this side of the ball. BC’s passing attack ranks 117th in S&P+, a small jump over the running game. This is a unit Maryland * should * be able to handle.
S&P+’s prediction: Maryland 24.1, BC 24. Each team has a 50 percent chance of winning.
Ryan’s prediction: Maryland 27, BC 17