COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Maryland’s final home game in the Atlantic Coast Conference featured a variety of plays the Terrapins probably won’t ever forget — no matter how hard they try.
It wasn’t just that Maryland blew an 11-point lead to Boston College in the fourth quarter or yielded 263 yards rushing to Andre Williams, who became the 16th player in NCAA history to reach the 2,000-yard mark in a single season.
No, the worst part about the Terrapins’ 29-26 defeat Saturday was that coach Randy Edsall used a timeout an instant before a 52-yard field goal try by Eagles kicker Nate Freese sailed wide left.
Given a second opportunity, Freese banged the game-winner through the uprights with the wind at his back, setting off a wild celebration on the Boston College sideline.
The Terrapins, on the other side, stood stunned. After absorbing the reality of the moment, they slowly shuffled off the field at Byrd Stadium for the last time as a member of the ACC.
“Obviously, I shouldn’t have taken that timeout. He missed it,” Edsall said. “But it’s just one of those things that you feel you’re doing something to put a little more doubt in the guy’s head. I made a decision and it just didn’t work out.”
It was the fourth loss in five games for Maryland (6-5, 2-5). The Terrapins, who will shift to the Big Ten in 2014, close out their ACC schedule next week at North Carolina State.
On a day the school honored 15 departing seniors and celebrated its affiliation with the ACC since 1953, Maryland took advantage of a pair of fumbles by Boston College (7-4, 4-3) to go up 24-13 with 10:52 left.
The lead wouldn’t last.
Williams ran 72 yards for a touchdown, a jaunt that moved him over the 2,000-mark. Maryland appeared poised for the clinching score when running back Jacquille Veii lost a fumble at the Boston College 7, and Chase Rettig subsequently threw to a wide open Alex Amidon for a 74-yard score to make it 26-24.
But the conversion was blocked, and Maryland’s Anthony Nixon took it the distance the other way to tie it with 5:02 left.
That set the stage for the stunning finish. As it turned out, Freese actually benefited from Edsall’s ill-timed timeout.
“Going into that re-kick, I was a lot more confident,” Freese said. “I was just calm, trying to get a little better judgment of the wind. It was kind of going from my right to left. Being out there a little longer, I got a little better feel for it.”
Early in the Eagles’ final drive, Edsall took a timeout before Williams peeled off a 36-yard run on third down that put the ball on the Maryland 37. A spike and a 2-yard run preceded the missed — then successful — field goal tries.
“This one is sour,” said Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown, who ran for a touchdown and threw for a score.
Maryland opened the second half with a 70-yard drive capped by a 33-yard touchdown pass from Brown to Amba Etta-Tawo for a 17-10 lead. The score came two plays after the Terrapins successfully gambled on a fourth-and-1 at the BC 34.
The Eagles closed to 17-13 late in the third quarter when Freese kicked a 19-yard field goal to end a march that lasted nearly seven minutes. The kick came after Boston College failed to get into the end zone on three runs — two by Williams, one by Rettig — from inside the Maryland 3.
The Terrapins went up by 11 on a 3-yard run by Brown with 10:52 to go. The score came after Bryce Jones mishandled a punt at the BC 33.
Rettig was 1 for 7 for 1 yard and an interception before halftime, but Williams rushed for 107 yards and a touchdown to help Boston College forge a tie.
After Williams had runs of 31 and 30 yards on the opening drive to set up a field goal, Maryland pulled even on its second possession.
Late in the first quarter, Rettig was in shotgun formation when a low snap skipped past him. The quarterback chased down the ball and fumbled upon being tackled by Maryland linebacker Marcus Whitfield, who recovered at the BC 1. That set up a touchdown run by Albert Reid for a 10-3 lead.
The Eagles tied it when Williams scored on a 6-yard run after Manuel Aspirilla blocked a punt inside the Maryland 10.
On the ensuing possession, Maryland had a touchdown wiped out by offensive pass interference. Seconds later, Brown was ruled over the line of scrimmage on a completion to the Boston College 1.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)