Quick Lane Bowl preview: Maryland faces familiar opponent

Quick Lane Bowl preview: Maryland faces familiar opponent

This is a reunion of familiar foes. In fact, this meeting will be the 12th between Maryland and Boston College who were both in the ACC from 2005-2014. BC leads the all-time series, 8-3, and has won the last three meetings.

The teams haven’t played since Maryland bolted the ACC for the Big Ten in 2014. The Eagles won the last meeting, 29-26, in 2013 in College Park, Maryland.

Getting to a bowl was a nice achievement for DJ Durkin in his first year as Maryland coach. And Durkin will return to the state from which he came to Maryland, as he previously was the DC for the Wolverines. The first year for any coach is a process, as he tries to change culture and attitudes while also implementing his systems.

It can be a rocky process. And, it was at times for the Terrapins, who opened 5-2 and then lost four in a row before winning the finale vs. Rutgers to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2014, when Maryland lost to Stanford in the Foster Farms Bowl. This is a program in transition, going 3-9 overall and 1-7 in the Big Ten the year before Durkin arrived.

Led by Steve Addazio, who worked with Durkin at Florida in 2010, BC won its last two games to become bowl eligible, a big change from 2015, when the Eagles failed to win an ACC game. The BC offense is horrid, but the defense is excellent, ranking No. 8 in the nation (310.6 ypg) – even though DC Don Brown left after 2015 to take Durkin’s defensive coordinator job at Michigan under Jim Harbaugh.

Also, here’s the full 2016-17 bowl schedule.

Maryland (6-6, 3-6) vs. Boston College (6-6, 2-6 ACC): Dec. 26, Detroit, 2:30 ET ESPN

Player on the spot: Maryland QB Perry Hills. He has battled injury time and again this season, as Hills missed four games and parts of two others. And, when he is absent, the offense struggles. He is adept at running this spread attack, making plays with this arm and feet and limiting mistakes. Witness his 10 touchdown passes and just three picks to go along with his 66 percent completion percentage. As a result, he ranks No. 2 in the Big Ten in passing efficiency, helping Maryland go from a national-high 29 interceptions in 2015 to just eight this season. If Hills plays well, Maryland may notch its first bowl victory since 2010, when it dumped East Carolina in the Military Bowl.

Best individual matchup: Maryland OT Michael Dunn vs. Boston College DE Harold Landry. Dunn is a 6-5, 300-pound senior who has been honorable mention All-Big Ten each of the last two years and leads the charge up front for what at times can be a prolific Terps attack. Dealing with Landry will be difficult, as he has a school single-season record 15 sacks, which is tied for the national lead. The junior also leads America with seven forced fumbles. No doubt, the 6-3, 250-pound Landry will be motivated to help BC win its first bowl since 2007.

Best unit matchup: Maryland rushing offense vs. Boston College rush defense. The Terps are No. 3 in the Big Ten in rushing, averaging 205.5 ypg. BC has the No. 2 rush defense in the ACC, allowing 106.9 ypg. Ty Johnson leads a parade of good backs for Maryland, boasting a team-high 845 yards rushing and averaging a whopping 8.9 yards per carry. If the Terrapins can get their ground game going, they should have a good shot at victory.

Number: 0, wins vs. FBS teams that finished the regular season with winning records for Maryland and Boston College in 2016.

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Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer

About Tom Dienhart: BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, and send him questions to his weekly mailbag.

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