|Notes and Observations Week 16: Patriots Escape from New York with 17-16 Win; Clinch First Round Bye.||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Win By Less Than a FOOT||Panic Mode in Full Effect, Minutemen are Struggling||Patriots Survive Gritty Challenge From Jets|
Boston College continued its second-half surge, improving to 7-4 with its second road win of the season, over Maryland (6-5) at Byrd Stadium. Although BC outgained Maryland by nearly 100 yards, the game was close throughout and came down to the very last play. The win was the Eagles’ fourth straight, further cementing their place among the Atlantic Coast Conference’s bowl teams, in the last game between these two before the Terrapins leave the ACC for the Big Ten Conference next year.
BC took the first lead with kicker Nate Freese‘s 22-yard field goal on the opening drive, but Brad Craddock tied it up for the Terps with a 43-yarder of his own. Late in the first quarter, quarterback Chase Rettig fumbled the ball, with Maryland recovering on the one-yard line. Running back Albert Reid immediately took advantage, jumping over the pile for the touchdown and a 10-3 lead.
Early in the second, the Eagles blocked a Maryland punt, with defensive back Manuel Asprilla recovering the ball and returning it to the seven-yard line. On the next play, RB Andre Williams ran it in for the TD. Later in the period, Rettig recorded his second turnover of the game, throwing an interception to DB Sean Davis, who returned it two yards to the Maryland 49. The Terrapins couldn’t capitalize, and the teams exchanged three-and-outs the rest of the way, going to halftime tied at 10.
Maryland opened up the second half with a TD drive, with QB C. J. Brown hitting wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo for a 33-yard score, but BC kept it close with a 14-play, 73-yard drive that ended with Freese’s 19-yard FG to make it 17-13 Terps, setting up what would be a wild fourth quarter.
On the first drive of the fourth period, Brown ran the ball in himself on third and goal from three yards out, but the Eagles responded right away, as Williams scored on a 72-yard TD run on the first play of the next drive. The Terrapins, looking to close out their victory, marched down to the Eagles’ red zone, but RB Jacquille Veii fumbled the ball on the eight-yard line with half a quarter left. Five plays later, Rettig found WR Alex Amidon, who reached the end zone for a 74-yard TD. But Freese’s extra point attempt was blocked and recovered by DB Anthony Nixon. After a few moments of hesitation, he took off and carried the ball all the way; what should have been a three-point BC lead instead became a tie game with five minutes on the clock. The Eagles’s defense, solid all game long, forced the Terps to punt, giving the offense two minutes to avoid overtime. Williams and company did just enough to get in range, and on the final play, Freese kicked a 52-yard FG for the win.
Rettig had a definite off day, going just 6-of-14 passing for 120 yards, a TD and an INT. Williams was again the focus of the offense, rushing for 263 yards and two TDs on 32 carries. Maryland’s Brown was 19-of-31 for 178 yards and a score. Boston College improved to 4-3 in ACC play, securing third place in the Atlantic Division, where it is 3.5 games behind undefeated #2 Florida State. The Eagles will once again have a winning season in 2013, following two years in which they totaled just six wins.
Next Eagles game: November 30 @ Syracuse (5-6), 3:30 pm ET
UMass was shut out for the second time this season and fell to 1-10 with a blowout loss to Central Michigan at Kelly/Shorts Stadium. The Minutemen amassed only 173 yards of offense to the Chippewas’ 298, and failed to score a touchdown for the third time in 2013.
The Chippewas jumped ahead on the opening drive, when running back Zurlon Tipton scored a three-yard rushing TD. Late in the first quarter, with UMass in scoring position, quarterback A. J. Doyle threw an interception to defensive back Jason Wilson, who returned it 52 yards to the Massachusetts 28, keeping the score 7-0.
Kicker Ron Coluzzi opened up the second period with a 33-yard field goal, and just four minutes later Doyle threw a pick-six to DB Tony Annese, who made the INT at the 34 before taking it all the way. With nearly eight minutes still left to play, QB Cooper Rush threw a 34-yard TD pass to wide receiver Titus Davis and the rout was on. Coluzzi kicked another 33-yard FG to make it 27-0 at halftime.
After the teams traded three-and-outs to start the second half, UMass RB Shadrach Abrokwah lost a fumble at his 46-yard line. Four plays later, Rush and Davis teamed up again for a 30-yard score. Late in the third, Charley Molnar went for it on fourth-and-14 from the Central Michigan 26 instead of settling for the FG but the Minutemen could only gain 11 yards on the play and the Chippewas held a 34-0 lead after three.
After a 14-play, 63-yard drive, Coluzzi’s third FG, from 24 yards, padded the Chippewas’ lead, and the shutout was cemented with Doyle’s third INT of the game, to DB Brandon Greer, who returned it 34 yards to the Central Michigan 48, ending a miserable game for the Minutemen’s QB. Rush finished the game 13-for-21 for 231 passing yards and two TDs, both to Davis, who had 154 yards on seven receptions.
UMass is now 1-6 in the Mid-American Conference, its lone win keeping it out of last place in the East Division, five games behind leaders Bowling Green and Buffalo.
Next Minutemen game: November 29 @ Ohio (6-5), 2 pm ET