COLLEGE PARK, Md. – After a heartbreaking 20-18 loss at home to NC State last week, the Maryland football team will look to rebound and move one win closer to bowl eligibility when it takes on Boston College this Saturday. The Terps and Eagles will be meeting for just the 10th time in a series in which Boston College has held the upper hand. Boston College has won six of the nine meetings and five of seven since joining the ACC in 2005.
• In the loss to NC State, Maryland overcame a season-ending injury to quarterback Perry Hills and was in position to win in the game’s final seconds, while totaling a season-high 462 yards of total offense. Backup quarterback Devin Burns ably directed the spread-option attack in the second half, rushing for 50 yards and a touchdown and completing three of four passes for 47 yards. Burns’ mobility helped create lanes for freshman Wes Brown, who ran for a season-high 121 yards, with 97 coming in the second half. Heading into preseason camp, Burns was set to play wide receiver; only after C.J. Brown’s season-ending injury during camp did Burns switch to quarterback.
• On top of Burns’ performance, true freshman quarterback Caleb Rowe entered the game with 0:32 left to direct Maryland’s 2-minute offense. Rowe moved the Terrapins 61 yards in three plays, sandwiching passes of 17 and 33 yards with an 11-yard run. That set up a 33-yard field goal attempt that would have won the game, but freshman Brad Craddock’s attempt clanged off the left upright. Rowe became the 13th true freshman to play for Maryland this season, which is tied for the sixth most in the FBS (see list, page 3).
• Maryland’s defense continues to rank as one of the nation’s best. The Terps rank 11th nationally in total defense (288.4 ypg), sixth in rushing defense (87.6 ypg) and tied for 29th in passing defense (200.9 ypg). NC State totaled just 40 rushing yards on 26 attempts (1.5 yards per carry) and became the fourth Maryland opponent this season to fail to gain 100 yards on the ground. Maryland has an experienced front seven highlighted by senior defensive linemen Joe Vellano and A.J. Francis, and senior linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield. Those three have played a big role in holding opponents to an average of just 2.53 yards per rush, which ranks fifth nationally. Adding to Maryland’s strength up front are senior linebackers Kenneth Tate andDarin Drakeford. Tate, who made his season debut at West Virginia after missing the previous 11 games due to a knee injury, has 18 tackles and four pass breakups in four games back. Drakeford, meanwhile, has constantly been in the opponents backfield; his 6.0 sacks are tied for third in the ACC, and his 8.0 tackles for loss are tied for seventh.
• Maryland’s 7.4 tackles for loss per game are tied for 17th in the FBS and its 2.9 sacks per game are also tied for 17th. Vellano leads the ACC and is tied for 14th nationally with 1.64 tackles for loss per game. Linebacker Cole Farrand is third on the team with 6.0 TFLs.
• Offensively and on special teams, wide receiver Stefon Diggs continues to be Maryland’s most dynamic playmaker. Against Virginia, the freshman returned the game’s opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown and went on to catch four passes for 89 yards. Over the last four games he’s averaging 92.0 receiving yards per game, while his 166.0 all-purpose yards per game this season rank second in the ACC and 11th nationally. Additionally, Diggs leads the conference in kickoff return average (28.4 yards) and ranks fifth in punt return average (10.3 yards), while his 19.0 yards per catch are tied for third. Diggs had a stretch of three straight weeks in which he earned ACC weekly honors (Rookie of the Week – WVU, Wake Forest; Specialst of the Week – Virginia).
• Marcus Leak has also turned into one of Maryland’s most reliable players on offense. The sophomore is second on the team in both receptions (23) and receiving yards (393) and against NC State caught four passes for a career-high 94 yards.
• Maryland’s close game against NC State is one of a number of close calls in recent history. In the last 13 contests, 11 have been decided by 10 points or fewer. Aside from a 37-0 Maryland win in 2007, the 11 games since 2000 have been decided by an average of 6.0 points. The Terps have played in close games all of the 2012 season; their average margin of victory is 5.5, and their average margin of defeat is 5.0.
• Stefon Diggs earned ACC Player of the Week honors in three straight games from Sept. 22 to Oct. 13. Diggs won Rookie of the Week for his play against West Virginia (9/22) and Wake Forest (10/6) and Specialist of the Week against Virginia (10/13). A Terp captured Linebacker of the Week honors in two straight games when Demetrius Hartsfield earned Linebacker of the Week for his play against Wake Forest, and Darin Drakeford received the award against Virginia.
• Diggs ranks seventh in the conference and first among freshmen with 73.4 receiving yards per game. Diggs, who has 27 catches for 514 yards, is just outside the top 25 on Maryland’s single-season receiving yards list (see list page 6).
• Diggs is the only Maryland freshman to record back-to-back 100-yard receiving games (vs. West Virginia and Wake Forest) since at least 1985, the earliest game-by-game statistics were recorded at the school.
• Maryland allowed Wake Forest to complete just 32.4 percent of its passes (13 of 38). That is the lowest percentage by an opponent with at least 30 passing attempts since Duke went 13 of 42 (30.9%) on Nov. 14, 1998.
• Joe Vellano’s father, Paul Vellano, was inducted into the Maryland Athletics Hall of Fame on Oct. 5. The elder Vellano was a first team All-American in 1973, while Joe was a second team All-American in 2011. The father-son combo represent one of four known father-son All-America combos to attend the same FBS school (also Lee and Travis McGriff at Florida; Kevin and Drew Butler at Georgia; Archie and Eli Manning at Ole Miss).
• Thirteen players have made their first career starts at some point this season. In the season opener against William & Mary, quarterback Perry Hills, running back Albert Reid, safety Sean Davis, defensive back Jeremiah Johnson, linebacker Cole Farrand, nose tackle Darius Kilgo and offensive lineman Nick Klemm debuted. Against Connecticut, wide receiver Stefon Diggs made his first career start; defensive back Isaac Goins and running back Brandon Ross made their starting debuts at West Virginia. Defensive back Anthony Nixon and offensive linemen Mike Madaras and Andrew Zeller made their first starts vs. Wake Forest.
• Fourteen players saw their first career action for Maryland against William & Mary, and 23 players have seen their first career action for Maryland at some point this season (13 true freshmen, seven redshirt freshmen, two juniors, one senior).
• The Terps are holding opponents to 2.53 yards per carry, which ranks fifth nationally. Of the opponents’ 242 rushing attempts this season, 165 (68.2%) have been for three yards or less (28 of 41 vs. William & Mary; 28 of 39 vs. Temple; 25 of 40 vs. Connecticut; 20 of 25 vs. West Virginia; 21 of 29 vs. Wake Forest; 25 of 42 vs. Virginia; 18 of 26 vs. NC State).
• Demetrius Hartsfield leads the team with 64 tackles and is just outside Maryland’s top 15 with 324 in his career. He needs seven stops to pass Kevin Walker for 15th on Maryland’s career tackles chart (see list page 3).
• The Terps have done a good job controlling the clock. In seven games, Maryland has had the ball for an average of 31:28 to 28:32 for the opponent. That’s a major upgrade compared to 2011, when Maryland averaged just 25:16 a game to 34:44 for the opponent.
• Head coach Randy Edsall hands out game balls for each win. Most recently, Darin Drakeford received the defensive game ball and Stefon Diggs got the special teams game ball for the win over Virginia (see complete list, page 6).
• Against William & Mary, Perry Hills became the first true freshman starter at quarterback for Maryland since Latrez Harrison in 1999. He also became the first freshman to start a season opener since redshirt freshman Calvin McCall on Sept. 2, 1999, in a 6-0 win over Temple.
• Nine bowl teams from last year appear on Maryland’s 2012 schedule: Temple (Gildan New Mexico Bowl), West Virginia (Discover Orange Bowl), Wake Forest (Franklin American Mortgage Music City), Virginia (Chick-fil-A Bowl), NC State (Belk Bowl), Georgia Tech (Hyundai Sun Bowl), Clemson (Discover Orange Bowl), Florida State (Champs Sports Bowl) and UNC (AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl).
Maryland-Boston College Series History
• Maryland and Boston College will face off for the 10th time Saturday. The Eagles own a 6-3 edge in the all-time series, including a 2-1 advantage in Chestnut Hill, Mass.
• Last season, Boston College won 28-17 in College Park behind 243 rushing yards from Rolandan Finch. The Eagles have won three of the past four in the series. The Terps snapped a BC three-game winning streak in the series with a 42-35 victory over the eighth-ranked Eagles in 2007. Maryland won 24-21 in its last trip to BC, in 2010.
• Prior to 2007, Maryland’s only win in the series came in 1985 when the Terps beat the Eagles 31-13 in Foxboro, Mass.
• The Eagles have won five of the seven meetings since Boston College joined the ACC. Maryland fell 31-16 in College Park in 2005, and 38-16 at Boston College in 2006. The Eagles also upended the Terps, 28-21, in 2008 in Chestnut Hill, Mass.