In spite of the successes of Andre Williams, it would be unfair to give him all of the credit — he doesn’t even take it all for himself. The reality is that Boston College’s offensive line is playing at a high level right now, which has helped Williams and Myles Willis prosper under this new power-run offense. The position coaches here are to be commended as well; Justin Frye has resurrected the offensive line and former Eagle player Al Washington has been a tremendous teacher to Williams and the rest.
Still, we must talk about what Williams has done individually and why it will be difficult for the Terps (or almost any team for that matter) to stop him. At 1,810 yards this season, he has already set the single-season Boston College record with three games to play, inclusive of the forthcoming bowl game. Williams was a few yards short of breaking Montel Harris’s single-game rushing record against Army, he finally broke it against New Mexico State, and then broke his own record against NC State. In the Wolfpack game, Williams set a new Boston College single-game record as well as a single-game ACC record with 339 yards. Williams has turned in three of the four best rushing performances in Boston College history this season alone.
With 190 more yards, he will become the only Eagle ever to rush for 2,000 yards in a single season. He would also become only the nineteenth player in FBS/I-A history to do the same; some names on that list include Barry Sanders, Marcus Allen, and Tony Dorsett. This is a special season and will result in some hardware for him personally, though many others deserve a share of the applause.
Otherwise, with the extreme emphasis on the run game, the passing game is nearly forgotten by outside observers. Alex Amidon is not going to have the record-setting season he did last year (though he did break the all-time record himself just recently), but he is still Chase Rettig‘s go-to option. Rettig himself has had ups and downs, but has turned the ball over quite rarely and has not hurt the Eagles to any major extent. All with which he is being tasked is managing the offense and being adequate, and he has done that. The game is not on his shoulders, and won’t be for the rest of his time here just due to the nature of the new offensive system.
Speaking of turnovers, the Eagles are near the top of the nation in holding onto the football. They average just one lost per game, which is best in the ACC. In some ways, Boston College’s offense has been quite a bit more disciplined and fundamentally sound than in previous years, even though the statistics might not necessarily show it.
Defensively, Maryland has been a rough approximation of itself from last season. Only two seniors are starting out of eleven spots, but there is some experience back here now. In particular, the Terps are excelling at sacking the quarterback. Senior outside linebacker Marcus Whitfield leads Maryland with eight of them on the season. The Eagles will not be passing the ball a great deal, thereby limiting Chase Rettig’s vulnerability, though he has been prone to blindside hits throughout his Eagle tenure. The run protection has been quite a bit better than the pass protection throughout the year, and Maryland will look to expose that if at all possible.
They have also been effective in stopping the run. Whitfield also leads the team with 13 tackles for a loss, speaking to how well he has played this year for the Terrapins. However, a deeper examination of their schedule reveals that they have not been tested by many particularly good offensive teams. FIU, Connecticut, West Virginia, Virginia, Wake Forest, and Virginia Tech range anywhere from lousy to downright atrocious offensively, particularly on the ground, while Old Dominion is not even a full-fledged FBS team. Only Florida State and Clemson have legitimate offenses, while Syracuse’s run offense is relatively competent. It is therefore reasonable to suggest that they have not faced very many rushing attacks as poised as that of Boston College.
One look at the numbers shows that the Terps have held their ground on defense this season. Supporting evidence shows that their schedule may have had quite a bit to do with it, though that in itself does not negate the performances of key players like Whitfield and Andre Monroe, who has 6.5 sacks.
Boston College’s offense overall is not a machine and is far from perfect, but it has several very important components working for it: the quarterback is managing the game, the offensive line is stellar and still improving, and the feature back is having the best season an Eagle rusher has ever had. The Eagles should be equipped to win some battles in the trenches and give Williams and Willis the tools to have another solid afternoon. Boston College slightly favored.