Tomorrow's game against Maryland is going to be a battle for the bottom of the ACC. Maryland comes into this game 2-5 (1-3) and BC, as we all know comes in at 1-6 (0-4). So really, if we manage to win, then BC and Maryland will just be tied for worst teams in the ACC. I am interested, however, to see how this game goes. Much is made of the fact that Randy Edsall, Maryland's head coach, is a case of "always-the-bridesmaid" when it comes to BC after being passed over in the coaching "searches" in 2006 and 2009. Could he be extra motivated to beat BC because he feels slighted? It's possible, and I would not doubt it, emotions can often play important roles in college football games. I think this is one of the last few winnable games left on BC's schedule this season. A win in College Park could potentially give the team enough momentum to take down Florida State next Thursday. My hope is that things finally fall into place tomorrow afternoon. This game against Maryland is more akin to our first few games of the season, rather than Clemson and Virginia Tech. BC was close against Duke, Wake, and Northwestern, so if things break our way, we could finally be on the right side this time around.
Five Keys to Beating Maryland:
1. Take advantage of the QB controversy- There are instances where a team not announcing its starting QB is a strategy to throw off the other team. I do not believe this is the situation at Maryland right now. I believe the decision of whether to start Danny O'Brien or CJ Brown is turning into a difficult one for Edsall and Crowton. O'Brien has been struggling, but Brown does not have as much experience. Disrupting the Maryland quarterback(s) and confusing them could give BC the edge in this situation.
2. Exploit their weak defense- Maryland's defense ranks 94th overall in points scored against. This is actually worse than BC's defense right now. Maryland may be the weakest defense we see all year and is certainly the weakest we have seen in the past few weeks. My hope is that BC, which has been showing flashes of ability on offense, can exploit Maryland's weaknesses this week. BC is tempered against stout defenses right now after playing Virginia Tech and Clemson in the last few weeks. Still, BC was able to put points on the board against these two strong defenses. Showing ability against strong defenses the last three weeks, BC should be able to put more scoring drives together against this Maryland defense.
3. Shut down the aerial attack- Danny O'Brien has thrown for 1110 yards on 174 attempts this season. CJ Brown has thrown for 361 on 78 attempts. Although these numbers are a bit modest, it still showcases Maryland's spread attack. If BC can force incompletions and interceptions and make Maryland run the ball, it can turn the game in BC's favor. Maryland's leading rusher this season, Davin Meggett, is averaging just 4.8 yards per carry. Forcing Maryland to run the ball could make a huge difference in this game.
4. Establish the run- BC has shown a strong run game in recent weeks. The combination of Finch, Kimble and Williams has proven to be fairly lucrative in the absence of Montel Harris. If BC can grind the ball out on the ground, while at the same time exhausting the already weak Maryland defense, BC will be able to score points. A strong run game will also free up Chase Rettig's ability to pass more and take some of the pressure off of him to perform.
5. Consistency from Chase- Chase Rettig has been inconsistent this season. When he is good, he is very good and can be a game changer, but when he makes bad decisions, it often results in third and long situations or fourth downs. If Chase can show a little more patience and accuracy, BC can win this game. Over the course of the season there have been moments of brilliance out of our passing game. Chase's ability to be consistent with his throws and to make his passes catchable can swing the balance in this game.
BC has a chance here to get another win this season. A loss against Maryland will mean the end of our bowl hopes (for those of us who are still hoping). A win on the road could also be a confidence boost for the team going into the Florida State game and the end of the season. If we play a complete game, on both sides of the ball, BC can win.