The Maryland football team secured the stop it needed to start the second half, forcing Boston College into a three and out while trailing 29-13 in Monday’s Quick Lane Bowl. Despite starting at their own eight-yard line, the Terps were one big play away — Ty Johnson had two long touchdown runs in the opening 30 minutes — from creeping back into their final contest of the season.
But as quarterback Perry Hills went to hand the ball off to Johnson on the first play of the possession, Eagles Noa Merritt met the duo in the backfield and jarred the ball from his hands. Defensive end Kevin Kavalec recovered it in the end zone, giving Boston College their largest lead of the game.
The sequence represented how the Eagles were able to exploit Maryland in the Terps’ 36-30 loss at Ford Field in Detroit. They scored four touchdowns, but each of them came on an explosive play. Coach DJ Durkin’s team’s other possessions ended in turnovers, sacks and failed three-point conversions, forcing Wade Lees to punt several times for deep in his own territory. That set up the one of the nation’s worst offenses with quality field position all afternoon, and the Eagles responded with their highest scoring total against a major conference opponent since 2013.
Still, the Terps had a chance to complete what would have been an improbable comeback in the final moments. After Hills fumbled the ball inside the Boston College two-yard line with about four minutes to play, the Terps recovered a fumble with more than three minutes to go. Three incomplete passes later, kicker Adam Greene made a 22-yard field goal to pull his team within 36-30.
Boston College punted on its ensuing possession, giving Hills the chance to lead a game-winning drive in the final minutes. The drive started at the Terps’ 35, but they didn’t gain a yard. On 4th-and-10, Hills took his eighth sack, ensuring his career would end with another bowl loss.
The result meant a winning season for Boston College (7-6) and a losing one for Maryland, which is in its first season under Durkin. A promising season for the Terps (6-7), who regained bowl eligibility after last season’s 3-9 campaign, ended in the program’s third straight postseason loss. Their last win came in 2010, a 51-20 win over East Carolina in former coach Ralph Friedgen’s final year.
Johnson finished with 15 carries for 159 yards, a performance that helped him eclipse the 1,000-yard rushing mark in his sophomore season. He had touchdown runs of 62 and 30 yards in the first half, using his speed to outrun Boston College defenders trying to catch him as he scampered into the end zone. His production kept Boston College from blowing out Maryland in the first half.
At the break, though, Terps still faced a 29-13 deficit. Boston College’s lead was 10 with less than a minute to go before intermission, but the Eagles used two plays to go 70 yards in 12 seconds. Quarterback Patrick Towles, who finished 10 of 22 for 151 yards, made a 21-yard completion before hitting wide receiver Michael Walker for the 49-yard touchdown.
The Eagles’ advantage blossomed to 23 early in the third quarter, but the Terps fought back, starting with Hills’ 63-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Teldrick Morgan, who finished with three receptions for 90 yards. With more than 10 minutes to go in the period, Levern Jacobs’ 52-yard receiving score cut Maryland’s deficit to single digits.
But from there, the game’s only points came on Greene’s chip shot. The Terps held Boston College off the board, but the Eagles — ranked eighth in the country in total defense entering the contest — shut down Durkin’s offense with the chance at a winning season on the line.