AP Sports Writer
DETROIT (AP) — 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:
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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