This has undoubtedly been the toughest week of Maryland's season. After a heartbreaking loss to North Carolina State as a result of a 33-yard missed field goal, the Terps have announced three season-ending injuries - one to starting quarterback Perry Hills, another to starting wide receiver Marcus Leak, and yet another to Hills' replacement, Devin Burns.
So now, the Terps will go with true freshman Caleb Rowe at quarterback - he was 2/2 for 50 yards in his debut against NC State, and he's the only natural QB on the roster (his backups are linebacker Shawn Petty and walk-on tight end Brian McMahon, who both played quarterback in high school). At wideout, Nigel King will likely start in place of Leak, at least until Kerry Boykins regains his health.
Maryland travels to Chestnut Hill this week to face woeful Boston College. The Eagles are 1-6, have only beaten FCS Maine, and their only loss that was within one score came against Army - who got destroyed by Stony Brook and list BC as their only victory.
That being said, with Maryland's numerous injuries on both sides of the ball, this game will be anything but an easy win. At quarterback, the Eagles still start Chase Rettig, and he's having by far his best season. Through seven games, he has 1,917 passing yards with 13 touchdowns against five interceptions. That touchdown mark is already a career high.
Rettig's top target is Alex Amidon, who is second in the conference in catches (48) and receiving yardage (806, with five touchdowns). Johnathan Coleman had a good start to the season but has quieted down somewhat, and currently has 18 catches for 279 yards and three touchdowns. The Eagles have the 34th best passing offense in the nation, with nearly 280 yards per game through the air - that number, however, is only good for seventh in the conference.
On the ground, however, BC isn't nearly so good. Andre Williams, who started a handful of games last year, has attempted to take over for Montel Harris but only has had three good games - against Army (21 rushes for 191 yards), Florida State (20 carries for 104 yards), and Georgia Tech (11 rushes for 51 yards and two touchdowns). On the season, he has 110 carries for 524 yards and four scores, and while he ranks fourth in the conference in rushing, the team is 112th in the nation, just above Maryland.
That's the BC offense, putting together almost 24 points per game (which is, yes, three points better than Maryland). But the defense is where the Eagles have truly struggled.
Without Luke Kuechly, BC has been completely helpless against the run. They gave up 135 yards on seven carries to Duke Johnson, 516 yards on the ground to Army, 391 to Georgia Tech, and 293 to Northwestern. The stats are a bit skewed, thanks to facing two triple-option attacks, but it bears repeating that Army is 1-6 and while they lead the nation in rushing, that was their highest output of the year.
The Eagles manage to have the conference's leading tackler yet again, this time in the form of senior linebacker Nick Clancy. Clancy has 84 tackles through seven games, and has five double-digit tackle performances. Fellow linebackers Kevin Pierre-Louis (58 tackles, three for a loss) and Steele Divitto (66 tackles) have also been solid.
What sticks out with BC's defense, however, is the complete and utter lack of pressure they get behind the line. The Eagles are tied for last in the country with five sacks, and hold sole possession of last in tackles for a loss, with 20. The next lowest team? Central Michigan, with 26.
That's a refreshing change for Maryland, who have now lost three starting quarterbacks this season to injury and have allowed, well, a lot of sacks. The lack of a real run defense on the part of the Eagles can only help Maryland, as well - Wes Brown had a fantastic game last week and will get his first opportunity as the Terps' starter this week.
It won't be easy for Maryland. Losing their number-two receiver as well as their top two remaining quarterbacks, it wouldn't be unreasonable to see an extremely poor offensive effort this week. Luckily for the Terps, they're facing Boston College, who can't rush the passer or stop the run. This is the perfect match-up for Maryland considering the circumstances, and one that could get them one win away from a bowl game with a tough stretch coming up to end out the season.
Prediction: Maryland 17, Boston College 13. It's the same old story, only amplified this week. Maryland's defense is really good, and their offense is really bad. BC doesn't have the weapons to compete, and the scoreline is closer than it looks.