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2016 Quick Lane Bowl Preview: Maryland vs. Boston College

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What does Maryland need to do to win the game?

Maryland v Rutgers Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

The Maryland Terrapins, barely exceeding expectations of our esteemed staff at OTE by a game, are going bowling in Detroit at the Quick Lane Bowl, taking on the Boston College Eagles. Boston College did the opposite of Maryland to get into the bowl by winning more down the stretch whereas Maryland limped to the finish but luckily finished with Rutgers and were able to easily secure their sixth win for bowl eligibility.

How to Watch

When: December 26th, 2:30pm ET

Where: Ford Field; Detroit, MI

TV: ESPN

Radio (DC area): ESPN980 (980AM, 92.7FM in MD, 94.3FM in NoVa)

Point Spread: Maryland (-2)

How Does Boston College Measure Up?

Boston College is terrible on offense, ranking 127th in total offense over the year. A bit more advanced stats tell you the same, where they gain a meager 2.27YPC on standard downs, 2.99 YPC on passing downs, and have a 24% stuff rate (0 or negative yards). Passing? About the same, ranking 117th in S&P+ for passing, 125th overall in S&P+ on offense, and the worst team on standard downs when rushing or passing. Yikes.

On the flip side of the ball, Boston College has an outstanding defense, giving up 24.6 PPG. Boston College is 5th in total rushing defense and 28th in total passing defense, which will give Maryland fits all game. Boston College’s front seven is very good and they do have legitimate pro prospects that Maryland is going to need to account for. If Maryland can establish the threat of a passing game or stretching the field horizontally in the run game, this will mitigate the stout defense up the middle to an extent.

Who Does Maryland Need to Look For?

  • Harold Landry, DE - Landry is a legitimate 1st round prospect at DE and currently is tied for the lead in the nation with 15 sacks, 6 over the last three games combined. Maryland will need to keep a back in the backfield to account for him or keep Derrick Hayward in as a blocking TE on Landry’s side.
  • Matt Milano, LB - Milano is projected as a third day prospect but it nevertheless doesn’t diminish his pass rushing skills. Milano has 5 sacks on the season and has disrupted the backfield a ton but has not excelled in run defense. Perhaps similar to Peppers, the gameplan may involve targetting Milano in the run game to diminish his pass rushing and take advantage of his average run defense.
  • John Johnson, S - If Maryland is going to go deep, they’re going to want to avoid Johnson. Johnson has above average ball skills and Maryland would be wise to use 3-4 WRs in order to drag him away from the go to receiver on the play and draw single coverage.

Three Keys to Winning the Game

  • Play disciplined defense. Boston College is not good at all on the offensive side of the ball, so Maryland needs to play disciplined defense and not give BC a lead that their outstanding defense can protect.
  • Stretch the field. BC is very good inside the box but starts breaking down when the field is spread out. Expect Maryland to run a lot of WR screens and quick hitches to stretch things out horizontally to open the box up some.
  • Run the read option. The one weakness BC has had this year appears to be running quarterbacks. Well, Hills has had a month to rest up and get healthy for the game so expect a healthy dose of designed QB runs or adaptations of such in order to get BC off their game.

Predictions

Vegas has Maryland by 2 and Bill C.’s S&P projections have Maryland winning by the slimmest of margins 24.1 - 24. I’ll go with a 23 - 16 victory for Maryland.