COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — With a performance as miserable as the weather, Maryland absorbed another lopsided defeat and dropped into last place in the Atlantic Division of the ACC.
Rolandan Finch ran for 243 yards and two touchdowns, and Boston College rolled past the Terrapins 28-17 Saturday for its first conference win.
Maryland (2-6, 1-4) gave up a touchdown on the Eagles’ first possession and never caught up. It was 21-3 early in the second quarter, and it stayed that way until the Terrapins finally reached the end zone with 6:39 left in the game.
By then, it was too late.
Maryland has lost four straight by a total of 52 points. One more defeat and the Terrapins will be mathematically eliminated from bowl contention.
“We don’t have any margin of error anymore,” first-year coach Randy Edsall said.
“Of course the season isn’t going the way we wanted it to go, but we are in this situation because of ourselves,” Terps defensive back Eric Franklin said. “So when you get yourself in a hole, you have to fight your way out of it.”
The game featured the two teams with the worst overall records in the ACC, and it showed. The Eagles (2-6, 1-4) committed four turnovers, completed only five passes for 32 yards and botched two field goal tries.
The Terrapins gave the ball away twice, missed two short field goals and were guilty of other miscues that didn’t show up in the box score.
“I don’t think we tackled well today,” Edsall said. “I will have to watch the film, but that stood out to me. I don’t think
that we caught the ball well. We had too many drops. Those are all things that we can work on and get better at.”
The lackluster matchup, along with the winter-like weather, caused thousands of fans to stay at home. Attendance was announced at 29,945, but there were fewer than 10,000 people in the seats when the second half started with Maryland trailing 21-3.
Edsall started C.J. Brown at quarterback, then switched to Danny O’Brien in the second quarter. Both threw an interception, and neither moved the offense until O’Brien threw a 55-yard touchdown pass to Adrian Coxson. That made it 21-10, and after a failed onside kick, Finch scored his second touchdown to clinch it.
Brown went 2 for 6 for 14 yards, and O’Brien completed 14 of 35 passes for 165 yards, including 141 in the fourth quarter.
“We had a plan going into the game that we were going to play them both,” Edsall said. “We were just following the plan. We will evaluate the film and make a decision as to who can best help us beat Virginia (next week).”
Finch, a sophomore, never before broke the 100-yard mark and had run for 266 yards in six games before Saturday. He had 152 yards rushing at halftime, finished with a career-high 39 carries and had a team-leading two catches for seven yards.
His longest run was 19 yards, but Finch repeatedly punished the Maryland defense and finished with the third-highest, single-game rushing total in Boston College history.
“In sloppy weather it’s hard to get the big hitters, so we put the emphasis on moving the chains,” Finch said.
Known to his teammates as “Deuce,” Finch missed all of last season with an injury. After a slow start, he has emerged as a
decent replacement for Montel Harris, who’s out of the year with a knee injury.
“We know Deuce is a very good back. He’s had a lot of injuries and things that have set his career back a little bit, but now he’s healthy and getting in the rotation,” BC coach Frank Spaziani said.
Linebacker Luke Kuechly had 12 tackles and an interception to help Boston College snap a three-game skid. The Eagles’ only other win was against Massachusetts.
Maryland got off to a horrible start, beginning with Nick Ferrara bouncing the opening kickoff out of bounds. Boston College needed only six plays to cover the 60 yards, the last five on runs by Finch for 7, 5, 9, 8 and 18 yards.
Brown threw an errant pitch on the Terrapins’ first offensive play, but he recovered the loose ball and got a field goal out of the drive. Maryland’s next possession ended when Sean Sylvia intercepted a deflected pass, and two plays later wide receiver Alex Amidon scored on a 21-yard touchdown run for a 14-3 lead.
After a Maryland punt, Boston College mounted an 80-yard drive that ended with a 3-yard touchdown run by Andre Williams. The Eagles were poised to pad the margin following an interception by Kuechly, but Finch lost a fumble at the Maryland 4. Another fumble by Finch gave Maryland the ball at the BC 14. Three plays lost two yards and Ferrara’s 34-yard field goal try was blocked.
Ferrara also botched a 27-yarder early in the second half. Boston College kicker Nate Freese missed a pair of 37-yard field goal tries in the fourth quarter.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)