When Maryland exited the ACC to join the Big Ten in 2014, they were a team Boston College fans were well aware of. Frank Spaziani, even with his difficulties was able to beat this team both in 2011 and 2012, and Steve Addazio beat them on a last second field goal in 2013.
But things have changed. Randy Edsall is gone fired in October of 2015, and former Michigan defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin is in charge. He took over a team that was 3-9, and desperately was in need of a boost after the Edsall/Mike Locksley combination finished the season allowing 34 points a game, 103rd in the country.
In his first year in D.J. Durkin has turned the program around to a good extent. The defense allowed five less points a game this season (71st in the nation), while the offense remained consistent from 2015 gaining about 380 yards a game, and scoring 25.4 points per game. The biggest improvement brought by Durkin is the improvement in recruiting, as Maryland currently has the #13 recruiting class for 2017, up from #39 in 2016.
On offense this isn’t a team that really should scare Boston College. They really don’t have any game changing weapons, but they have senior quarterback Perry Hills who doesn’t get a ton of yardage, but doesn’t make a ton of mistakes either. Over the season he averaged 125 yards per game (110 in B1G games).
At wide receiver, given that they don’t pass the ball that much (only 29 yards per game more than BC), the most effective wide out has to be D.J. Moore a sophomore wide out who led the Terps in yardage with 597 yards and six touchdowns. Another wide out to keep an eye on is Teldrick Morgan, a senior who led the team with 40 receptions.
Offensive Coordinator Walt Bell’s offense is a spread offense, but it’s stylistically a little different than the ones you would expect at the college level. He stresses the run, just like the Eagles, but instead of long slow drives all over the field and emphasizing time of possession, he has the elements of quick plays that you see in the spread. Hence when you look at Maryland’s offense, almost 2⁄3 of their offense comes from the run, tallying up 2466 yards this season (40th in the country).
The Terps have multiple backs to contend with including Ty Johnson, who ran for 148 yards in the season finale against Rutgers, and possibly Lorenzo Harrison (who is currently suspended), along with quarterback Tyrell Pigrome, a rushing QB who had multiple carries in most of their games this season. Certainly BC’s stout rushing defense will be challenged in this bowl matchup.
On defense Maryland can get after the quarterback, registering a stout 33 sacks on the season. The defense is lead by defensive lineman Jesse Aniebonam, who finished the year with 9 sacks, and Kingsley Opara who was second on the team with 11 tackles for loss. In terms of linebackers, look for playmaker Jermaine Carter Jr., who had a touchdown and a handful of sacks.
In the secondary Maryland only had four interceptions all season, two of them by defensive back Alvin Hill. Even with just a few takeaways, the secondary has been pretty good, allowing only 215 yards per game. Based on stats, it looks like Maryland’s front seven makes life difficult for quarterbacks, an ominous sign against a Boston College offensive line that struggled all season.