Terps Tumble to the Bottom

The Terps dropped to 2-6 on the season after falling to Boston College 28-17.

After a grueling three game stretch against some of the conference's best in which the Terps went winless, many were looking forward to seeing the Maryland football team take the field Saturday afternoon against the bottom-dweller in the ACC, Boston College. Yet, by the end of the afternoon it was the Terrapins who found themselves in the cellar of the Atlantic Division, falling to the Eagles by a score of 28-17.

A day that started out ugly, with temperatures in the 20s and a wintery October mix of sleet and snow, turned uglier when the Terps took the field.

The Eagles, who came into the game averaging 111.5 yards per game on the ground (10th in ACC), had a field day against the conference's worst rushing defense, gouging Maryland for 372 yards on 62 carries.

Boston College made quick work of the Terps early on, going 60 yards on six plays in their first drive of the game, which was capped by an 18 yard touchdown carry by Rolandan Finch. Finch amassed a career-high 247 yards on 39 carries for two touchdowns on the day after coming into the game with only 266 yards on the season. Finch's performance set this season's high mark in the ACC for rushing yards, and his 247 yards was the fifth-highest rushing total in a game in the FBS this season.

A miniscule crowd on hand Saturday afternoon were treated to a steady dose of sloppy play by the Terrapins and solid rushing by the visitors from that point on. The Terps' offense was nothing less than anemic on the afternoon, with the defense was not far behind. Maryland had absolutely no answer for the smash mouth running the Eagles brought at them.

After another week of speculation over who would start the game under center, redshirt sophomore C.J. Brown got the nod, but didn't last long. Brown was pulled early in the second quarter after only managing to throw for 14 yards with a costly interception, while rushing for 18 yards on three carries. A tipped Brown pass with just under seven minutes remaining in the first quarter was intercepted by Sean Sylvia, giving the Eagles offense prime position to start their drive in the red zone. Boston College quickly capitalized thereafter, as Alex Amidon took an end-around 21 yards into the endzone to put Maryland in a quick 14-3 hole.

After making a brief appearance at the end of last week's defeat at Florida State, Danny O'Brien took over early in the second quarter, but even with the reigning ACC freshman of the year under center the Terps couldn't get anything going. O'Brien finished the day 14 of 35 passing for 165 yards with one interception and one touchdown, a late 55- yard toss to Adrian Coxson.

“We had a plan going into the game to play them both,” said Randy Edsall in the post game press conference, offering no further insight on the now-weekly quarterback battle. “We'll evaluate the film and make a decision as to who can best help us beat Virginia.”

It wasn't as if the Terps weren't given chances to take over the game Saturday, as the defense forced four turnovers on the day, highlighted by a second quarter fumble recovered by Cameron Chism at the Boston College 14. Yet, as it has been all season long, the Maryland red zone offense was abysmal, scoring on two of their four chances, with one score coming on a late O'Brien rush on 4th and goal from one yard out.

After converting on a 33-yard field goal attempt early in the first quarter, the usually sure-footed Nick Ferrara was less than stellar from there on, with a low 34-yard attempt blocked and a 27-yard attempt hitting the left upright.

The Terps were able to score twice in the final quarter, but the defense couldn't hold off a late drive by the Eagles as a three-yard touchdown run by Finch crushed any hopes of a Maryland comeback.

After taking over a team with such high preseason expectations, Coach Randy Edsall explained he doesn't have to look far to find a culprit for the team's lack luster season. “Ultimately I am the guy who is responsible,” said Edsall. “My coaches and I are going to do everything possible to put our guys in the best position to win. I put more pressure on myself than anybody.”

Sitting at 2-6, the Terrapins must win out their final four games in order to qualify for postseason bowl play. “We realize our backs are kind of against the wall now in terms of going to a bowl game,” said Danny O'Brien. “You can't win four [games] before you win one, so we've got to beat Virginia this week. We can't feel sorry for ourselves.”

The struggle to find wins, after coming into the season with such lofty goals as an ACC championship, has manifested itself into a quasi-shock amongst the players. “It was definitely not what I was expecting coming into the season, but we can't change it now” said junior offensive lineman Bennett Fulper.

“It was never in my mind and never in the team's mind,” said junior linebacker Darin Drakeford about the team's less than stellar record.

Despite the disappointment surrounding the season up to this point, Edsall is making a conscious effort to stay positive. “I am not going to get frustrated because I don't want the young men to be frustrated,” said the coach. “The frustration I have is figuring out what word can I use to help some of these things turn around. That is what I am searching for.”

Others, however, are simply searching for a win. When asked by a reporter what he would've said if someone would had told him in the beginning of the season that the team would be 2-6 at the end of October, junior defensive back Eric Franklin was very blunt with his response. “I would've told you that you were crazy.”

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