Friday, October 26, 2012
Can BC turn it around vs. Terps?
By Jack McCluskey
NEWTON, Mass. -- Last season, a win over Maryland helped Boston College save something of its football campaign.
The 1-6 Eagles went to Terrapins territory and came away with a 28-17 win, the first of three W's in their final five games. That late flourish allowed Frank Spaziani's bunch to finish 4-8 and to talk about carrying momentum into this season.
Chase Rettig and the Eagles beat Maryland last year to spark a late season resurgence.
While any talk of carryover clearly fell flat, that hasn't stopped people from drawing parallels.
Is a similar finish possible this season? And might a win over Maryland help BC (again 1-6 ahead of this matchup) make that happen?
"I think we're just different teams than we were last year," Eagles QB Chase Rettig said before practice Wednesday. "You kind of think of the Miami game, 'Well, we beat them last year,' and then they beat us this year."
Indeed, any idea that a season-closing win over Al Golden's Hurricanes would give the Eagles a leg up in the season-opening matchup this year proved incorrect. The visitors came to Chestnut Hill and blew town with a 41-32 shootout win.
"I think we're just gonna prepare as much as we can, not so much think about last year and just like it's a new team that we're playing," Rettig said.
That is not to say the Eagles won't be trying to do the same thing they did last season. They know they badly need to win this weekend.
"I guess saving the season would just be winning games," linebacker Nick Clancy said. "The message around the locker room is not to look too far ahead. Try to take one game at a time. So that's how we do it every week.
"Win or lose, after every Saturday we look at the tape and then we just go back to work."
As a fifth-year senior, Clancy feels particular pressure to produce positive results.
"There haven't been any players-only meetings, nothing like that," he said, "but the older guys, the seniors, have been a lot more vocal trying to establish the tradition we have here at BC. It's a winning tradition, and I know my class doesn't want to be known for the class that screwed that up.
"We've tried to lead by example and show the young guys: This is how it's done."
After a disappointing 2-10 season in 2011, Maryland (4-3, 2-1 ACC) has surprised some observers in 2012.
"It's almost the same guys that they had last year, the only difference is they're playing harder," offensive co-captain Chris Pantale said. "They're making plays this year, they're aggressive. They've bought into their system, I guess, and they're just playing tough, physical football."
The strength of Randy Edsall's squad this season has been its defense, which sits just a notch below league-leading Florida State in conference play.
The Terps are second in scoring defense (18.0 points allowed per game), total defense (324.7 yards allowed per game) and rushing defense (93.0 ypg), fourth in passing defense (231.7 ypg) and fifth in sacks by (10 in three ACC games). They've allowed the fewest first downs of any team in the ACC, giving up just 16.0 a game.
"They're a great team defensively this year," BC wideout Alex Amidon said. "They've played well against everyone. I mean, West Virginia scored 30 [actually, 37], but that's uncharacteristic of West Virginia, really, because they usually score in the 50s and stuff. They've just got an overall great defense; their defensive line, linebackers and D-backs are solid.
"It's gonna be a good challenge."
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.