This game felt weird to watch live and even weirder on the second viewing. BC dominated yet the score was close. In a way it was a fitting end to the year. I don't know of many scores, including the blowouts and the close wins, that really captured this team's potential. I don't think BC was great this year, but I do think BC should have been better than the final record. This game had moments that showed what could have been. At least they held it together and closed it out for the win.
It was a typical Towles game. He made some nice throws and used his athleticism (nice catch!) but also was inconsistent with his footwork and rushed things a bit. I often wondered if they should use him differently during the season, but maybe we saw the whole package. He can do great things but just not consistently.
Hilliman started strong. He made good cuts and ran hard. I thought he got a little overused though as the game wore on. There was less explosiveness and of course the fumble. I wish the staff split the carries a bit more. Willis' two touches were great. Jones didn't get to do much.
Smith didn't get enough touches, but the pass worked well. Callinan dropped two early, but recovered to contribute later. Sweeney's catches were good. Walker's TD was great. Idrizi was a nice surprise early.
The OLine played pretty well. There was good work in the interior with Baker, Johnson and Lindstrom. Lowery had the false start issues again. But overall this group got a big push and opened holes. This was also the least amount of pressure that Towles faced all year against a Power 5 team.
The tempo caught Maryland by surprise and that set the tone. The early running was great. But as the Terps adjusted, we didn't answer. Where were the play actions passes in the second half? Why no bootlegs? Why not so of the edge stuff that worked against Wake? Instead we sat on the lead and put a ton of pressure on the D.
I hope Landry comes back because this game is a blue print for how things might work next year. Maryland doubled him a lot and that opened up things for everyone else. And despite being doubled, he had a great game. The DTs played well and forced Maryland to abandon running between the tackles. Merritt and Ray Smith stepped up. Gutaphel did what he needed. Kavalec had a big stop. Allen also looked good (but I thought his facemask penalty was going to kill BC).
The LBs were not as successful as the DLine. There were a few too many missed tackles and they allowed some big plays by being a little out of position and a little over aggressive. Strachan made the most tackles. Schwab was fine.
The DBs made some great plays but were also burned repeatedly. Harris gave up a big play where he just got beat (and looked hurt). The corners had some big moments but few missed tackles. Yiadom's late tackle was critical. Johnson had a strong overall game.
BC brought a lot of pressure this game and it showed how things are high risk-high reward. We have the talent upfront to get to the QB, but it allowed for huge plays when we didn't. That has been a problem all year. Unlike the offense, the D kept up its aggressiveness in the second half and ultimately that is what saved BC. They gave up a lot of big plays, but that was in part because the offense wasn't sustaining drives in the second half.
Special Teams: C-
Throughout the season our Special Teams were probably our most consistent unit. They had their one of their worst games during the Bowl.
Knoll's punts were decent. His kickoffs were okay and included two touchbacks. The place kicking was bad. The first miss was due to a blocking breakdown, but maybe it got in his head. He missed another PAT. The field goal miss was pretty makeable. He just went wide.
The punt coverage was fine. The kick coverage was not great and we got lucky on some Maryland penalties.
Rouse wasn't able to do much. Willis' returns were fine.
The first half was great. Addazio added new wrinkles -- like tempo -- that worked. Our trick plays worked. Yet in the second half as Maryland adjusted, we just reverted to old form. We went way too conservative, especially considering that Maryland showed they could score quickly. I thought the play calling in our last two possessions nearly cost BC the game. It was like he learned nothing from Ireland. Getting the first down is what is important, not just killing clock. It worked out, but that doesn't mean it was the right call.
I don't know where the team goes from here. There are plenty of pieces in place, but also many of the same old questions. We have the whole offseason to think about what's to come. For now, I am very happy for the team and happy the season ended on a high note.