Reporting Brendan Darr
Despite a dominating defensive performance from the University of Maryland, the Terps crumbled late and gave up a touchdown with 52 seconds left in the game to fall 20-17. Caleb Rowe tried to lead the Terps down the field, but ended up throwing a game-ending interception.
Rowe struggled in his first start of the season. The freshman has unenviable circumstances at the moment, and while he did have some bright spots, his three interceptions on the day are a serious issue moving forward. Rowe has the ability to make a lot of throws, but thinks he can make every throw. He can’t, unfortunately. While a team needs their leader to have confidence, Rowe’s is in the stratosphere, which can be dangerous, especially when you throw a jump ball in double-coverage in the red zone.
The freshman will have another week to prepare and improve as he is really the only quarterback left on the roster, his job will never be in doubt. His decision making will have to improve as well.
But enough about Rowe, it really isn’t fair to criticize him as two weeks ago it was looking like he would be redshirting this season. He did have a nice pass on fourth down for the Terps first touchdown, and his second touchdown was a perfect pass to lead Stefon Diggs in the middle of the field.
Diggs set a new career high in catches and is moving up all the single-season Maryland record books with each passing game. Diggs finished with 12 catches for 156 yards, and also added an additional 40 yards on four returns. One of the biggest plays for Diggs on the day would be his block that was ruled unsportsmanlike conduct on a Caleb Rowe scramble. It’s always tough to criticize officials for airing on the side of safety, but a clean block is a clean block. The severity of it should never be a determining factor for a penalty.
The offense couldn’t establish the run game this week as Wes Brown, who won the job last week, finished with just 73 yards on the ground on 23 carries. Boston College gave up 391 yards on the ground the previous week to Georgia Tech and 516 yards on the ground earlier in the year against Army. In other words, this isn’t a good defense against the rush, and Maryland couldn’t find ways to get the running game going against a poor defensive side.
Ultimately, the game was lost by a defense that shouldn’t be taking much blame. The defense held Boston College to under 300 total yards, and single-digit rushing yards (8 total) as well as forcing two turnovers and had a handful of sacks. Like the week before against NC State, the defense just couldn’t come up with a game-winning play on a late drive. Joe Vellano and A.J. Francis again dominated another game together, the two were disruptive in the run game and were constantly bringing pressure on Boston College QB Chase Rettig.
Another similarity to the game against NC State was Brad Craddock missing a field goal inside 40 yards. Craddock missed a game-winning field goal against NC State, and after the miss on Saturday against Boston College was benched in favor of freshman walk-on Brendan Magistro. Magistro made his only attempt of the day, a 28-yarder.
Maryland will have the week to regroup before they take on Georgia Tech at home next Saturday. The game will be at 12:30 on ESPN3.com. With the loss against Boston College the Terps drop to 4-4 on the season and 2-2 in the ACC.
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