Mary­land, Bos­ton Col­lege bat­tle in Mo­tor City

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS - BY LARRY LAGE

DETROIT | Mary­land and Bos­ton Col­lege are meet­ing in the Mo­tor City af­ter quite a turn­around.

The Ter­rap­ins (6-6) and the Ea­gles (6-6) bounced back with rel­a­tively strong sea­sons af­ter slump­ing to 3-9 records last sea­son.

While a trip to Detroit in the win­ter may not seem like much of a re­ward in col­lege foot­ball’s bowl-filled post­sea­son, both pro­grams seem thank­ful they did enough to earn a spot in the Quick Lane Bowl.

“It’s a mea­sur­ing stick for the amount of suc­cess in a year,” said Bos­ton Col­lege’s Steve Ad­dazio, who joined Jack Bick­nell as the only coaches in school his­tory to lead the team to a bowl game in three of their first four sea­sons.

Mary­land also is in the post­sea­son for the third time in four years, this time with first-year coach DJ Durkin. Durkin started seven true freshmen at some point this sea­son, but he cred­ited his out­go­ing play­ers with help­ing the pro­gram win again.

“I’m pleased with the amount of buy-in from our se­niors,” he said. “They’ve been through a lot of ad­ver­sity in their ca­reer and they stayed the course.”

Here are some things to watch when the Ter­rap­ins and the Ea­gles play Mon­day af­ter­noon with a chance to cap their sea­son with a vic­tory that would give them a win­ning record:

COACH­ING CON­NEC­TION: Ad­dazio and Durkin were on the same staff in 2010 at Florida. Ad­dazio went on to be­come a first-time head coach in 2011 at Tem­ple, where he won 13 games over two sea­sons be­fore be­ing hired by Bos­ton Col­lege. Durkin stayed with the Ga­tors through the 2014 sea­son be­fore leav­ing to be Michi­gan’s de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor and re­unit­ing with Jim Har­baugh, with whom he coached at Stan­ford.

“I gen­uinely love DJ, and I gen­uinely think he’s one of the finest coaches out there,” Ad­dazio said. “I think Mary­land is ex­tremely lucky and smart to have hired him.”

The feel­ing is mu­tual.

“Steve’s a guy I look up to (in) this pro­fes­sion,” Durkin said.

STINGY D: The Ea­gles gave up just 311 yards of of­fense and 107 yards rush­ing on the ground per game, rank­ing sev­enth in the na­tion in both cat­e­gories. They’ll be pre­pared for Mary­land’s of­fense be­cause of play­ing teams such as Clem­son in the ACC.

“They’re a high-fly­ing, fast-tempo,” Ad­dazio said. “I’m just hop­ing they don’t score 9,000 points.”

UN­DER CEN­TER: Mary­land quar­ter­back Perry Hills con­nected on a Big Ten-best 66 per­cent of his passes and ranked sec­ond in pass ef­fi­ciency. Like his team, he re­cov­ered fol­low­ing a poor sea­son. Hills threw 10 touch­down passes and just three in­ter­cep­tions af­ter throw­ing more in­ter­cep­tions (13) than touch­downs (eight) last year.

“He’s been a re­ally good player for us this year when he’s been healthy,” Durkin said. “We’ve had some ups and downs based on his health. He was back for us the last game of the year. He’s back healthy now.”

LONE STAR: Bos­ton Col­lege de­fen­sive end Harold Landry will be the only player in Detroit that was on The Associated Press All-Amer­ica team, earn­ing sec­ond-team hon­ors. The 6-foot-3, 250-pound ju­nior had 15 sacks this sea­son, ty­ing with Florida State’s De­Mar­cus Walker for the high­est to­tal in the na­tion.

WEL­COME BACK: Both teams have played a bowl in the Detroit area. Mary­land beat Syra­cuse 35-18 in the 1985 Cherry Bowl at the Pon­tiac Sil­ver­dome, which now sits aban­doned about 30 miles north of Detroit. Bos­ton Col­lege beat Toledo 51-25 at Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions, in the 2002 Mo­tor City Bowl.

Un­like on the pre­vi­ous trips, play­ers got a chance this time to try fowl­ing, which com­bines foot­ball and bowl­ing. Bos­ton Col­lege’s Leonard Skubal looked like a nat­u­ral when he knocked down a pin with a long snap.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Mary­land quar­ter­back Perry Hills re­cov­ered from a poor sea­son in 2015 to con­nect on a Big Ten-best 66 per­cent of his passes and ranked sec­ond in pass ef­fi­ciency. He leads the Ter­rap­ins into the Quick Lane Bowl on Mon­day.

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