The Quick Lane Bowl matched up two opponents no impartial fan cared much about. Maryland and Boston College came into the game as unexciting 6-6 teams, and looked to offer nothing more than a relatively low-scoring contest between two boring teams.
It didn’t turn out that way at all.
The two teams combined for 66 total points, nine touchdowns, and six turnovers in an outrageous turn of events between two of the lowest-rated teams involved in this bowl season.
In the beginning, this game was looking like the clunker everyone feared it would be. Maryland had one total yard of offense in the first quarter before finally showing some signs of life in the second.
This looked over in the first half.
Most of those signs of life were sponsored by Ty Johnson. The Terps’ sophomore running back got them on the board with a 62-yard touchdown, and would finish with 159 yards on the day.
Another Johnson score off a read-option from Perry Hills made it a 23-13 game, but BC quarterback Brian Towles hit receiver Michael Walker before halftime to deflate Maryland fans and make it 29-13 going into the break.
Then it looked over again in the third quarter.
One play into their first drive of the second half, the Terps looked doomed.
BC’s Noa Merritt got in Maryland’s backfield unblocked (a common occurrence on Monday) and got to Hills before he could even hand the ball off to Ty Johnson. Kevin Kavalec recovered it in the end zone. All of a sudden the Terps were facing a 36-13 deficit, and they hadn’t done much to think they’d make a run.
But they did, just two plays later. This was some insanity.
Perry Hills hasn’t been great at throwing the deep ball all season. So he promptly completed two passes of 50-plus yards to get his team in prime comeback mode.
Hills hit Teldrick Morgan for a 62-yard touchdown. After BC stalled, he connected with Levern Jacobs for a 52-yard score. All of a sudden it was a 36-27 game. And there were still 25 minutes of game time left.
Everyone started loving a game they were supposed to be making fun of.
THE QUICK LANE BOWL IS WHY COLLEGE FOOTBALL EXISTS— Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) December 26, 2016
Quick Lane Bowl is wild drunk.— SB Nation (@SBNation) December 26, 2016
Maryland kept it just close enough, but had some costly errors.
If you’re a Maryland fan (and you’re reading this site, so you probably are), this last part’s gonna hurt.
The end of this game was completely bonkers. This was a Maryland fourth-down conversion attempt gone totally wrong, then maybe right, then definitely short.
It didn’t end up mattering, because with nine minutes left in the game, Darnell Savage picked off a pass tipped by Jesse Aniebonam to give the Terps prime field position.
This helped Maryland get the ball all the way to the Boston College two-yard line, but they would not score. The Terps caught a break with a defensive facemask call and got to the goal line again, but did not score. That seems impossible. Maybe in a normal game, but this was the Quick Lane Bowl.
When it seemed like a one-yard Wes Brown run got the Terps to the BC one-yard line, a holding call brought them back. A two-yard run inched them forward. Then a sack brought them even further back. Another holding call on a scramble set up a third-and-goal from the BC 27. Then a sack ended things.
Except it didn’t.
A pretty clear facemask by BC’s Zach Allen gave Maryland an automatic first down. A 12-yard D.J. Moore end around got the Terps to the BC one-yard line. Just when his team was knocking the door, Hills fumbled and BC recovered, seemingly ending the best chance Maryland would have all day.
Except, somehow, it didn’t.
Three plays later, Boston College FUMBLED THE BALL RIGHT BACK. This was an eventful turn worthy of the zaniness that proceeded it.
Maryland took over on the BC five-yard line and threw three head-scratching incompletions, electing not to give the ball to Johnson, who wouldn’t get another touch in the final seven minutes. An Adam Greene field goal made it 36-30, but that’s as close as it would get.
Maryland, somewhat inexplicably, called four straight pass plays on its final drive. The last ended in a sack, BC’s eighth of the day. It was an anticlimactic end, but what came right before it was enough to leave everyone breathless.