Every team in the ACC has a couple games they wish they had back from 2012. Whether they didn’t bring their A-game, or the other guys just got lucky, every school would love another shot at an opponent, for the ability to prove it won’t happen again. Luckily, because of conference play and parity in the ACC, many will get a chance at redemption immediately, with rematches already on the books for 2013.
As part of our 2013 college football season preview, we’ll be running through the biggest “payback” games for each school. As no team finished with just one loss, there are likely multiple choices for each — none more “right’ than another, necessarily. Still, every selection should help provide some extra motivation for fans as they gear up for this season’s slate of games.
Team: Maryland Terrapins
Opponent: Boston College Eagles
Last Year: Loss, 20-17 at Boston College
This Year: November 23, vs. Boston College
Not yet starting a linebacker at quarterback, the Terrapins had seemingly made every effort possible to win this game last year. Roaring back from down 13-0, Maryland found themselves with a 17-13 lead against the hapless Eagles offense with just minutes left on the clock. Quarterback Caleb Rowe had performed admirably, completing 23 passes for 240 yards and two scores, though it would be the glaring three interceptions that ultimately killed the Terps chances. In particular, the last one, which came just one play after BC scored to take a 20-17 lead, sealing the loss.
Again, Maryland put themselves in position to win this game. They’d outgained BC by 40 total yards on offense, were even in the turnover battle (until that final pick, anyway), and were even more effective converting on both third and fourth downs. But that’s the difference between a “promising young team” and a “struggling, inexperienced team.” The ones that are ready to make that leap finish the job. The ones who need more time to figure things out drop the ball late. So are the Terps ready to finish the job this year?
When it comes to expectations for 2013, Maryland’s largely considered to be better than Boston College, but then again, they were last year too. Prior to last year’s matchup, Maryland was 4-3 and still appeared to have an outside shot at the postseason. This loss would be indicative of more terrible things (read: several QB injuries) to come, and not surprisingly, the Terps wrapped up the year at 4-8.
This time around, they’re healthy (for now), and are possibly seen as the third-best team in the Atlantic Division (debatable, in my opinion). They should be able to take care of the Eagles at home, but will need a few things in order to do it. Most notably: ball protection, solid quarterback play and a decent running game. C.J. Brown should be the solution needed for both, but at the same time, let’s not forget he hasn’t played in 20 months. And when we last saw him (in 2011), he still threw nearly as many interceptions (six) as scores (seven). Where he’ll certainly be productive, however, is the running game. Brown’s a true dual-threat at the quarterback position and is bound to help out a Maryland rushing attack that managed just 97 yards against Boston College last year. If he can establish a brisk tempo and a sound running game this year, the Terrapins should be able to exact some revenge in a late season victory.