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Boston College holds off Maryland in Quick Lane Bowl

By Keith Dunlap, The Sports Xchange 

DETROIT -- Throughout the entire season, Boston College coach Steve Addazio could see his team growing in one critical area.
"We started the year in Ireland, and we didn't know how to find a way to win yet," Addazio said. "We close the year in Detroit, and along the way here in the last month or so of the season, we started to really develop a resolve that you can see it in the players' eyes that they aren't going to let each other down. The most critical thing in building a program is having that, and I really believe we have set that platform going forward."
The Eagles certainly showed the resolve and ability to win Addazio preaches about in their final game of the season on Monday, jumping out to a big third-quarter lead and holding off a late Maryland rally to earn a 36-30 win in a battle of 6-6 teams at the Quick Lane Bowl.
It was the first bowl win in nine years for Boston College, something the Eagles hope will be a giant springboard into 2017.
"This is something that you can really build upon," Boston College senior quarterback Patrick Towles said. "Going to bowl games is great, and we will never take that for granted, but winning a bowl game is another level. Getting that victory today will only propel the guys forward in the offseason."
The biggest reason why Boston College earned a winning taste going into the offseason was a terrific performance by its defensive line, which collectively was selected the MVP of the game after sacking Maryland senior quarterback Perry Hills eight times and batting numerous other balls at the line of scrimmage.
"They were relentless at the end," Addazio said of his starting defensive linemen Kevin Kavalec, Harold Landry, Truman Gutapfel and Noa Merritt.
The dominance by Boston College's defensive line certainly wasn't lost on Maryland head coach D.J. Durkin.
"We have to get better up front," Durkin said.
In addition to the struggles of his offensive line, Durkin also bemoaned a litany of errors his team made.
Maryland turned the ball over four times and committed 11 penalties for 86 yards.
"We made far too many mistakes to win that," said Durkin, who finished his first season as Maryland head coach. "We shot ourselves in the foot way too many times in that game with penalties and turnovers."
Sophomore running back Jon Hilliman ran for 79 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries, and Towles tossed a couple of TD passes for Boston College.
Sophomore running back Ty Johnson ran for 159 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries in defeat for the Terrapins, who nearly pulled off what would have been an unlikely comeback.
Boston College (7-6) jumped out to a 16-0 lead with 10:32 left in the first half and went up 36-13 early in the third quarter when Kavalec recovered a Maryland fumble at the goal line for a touchdown.
The fumble occurred after Merritt hit Johnson in the backfield at the 3-yard line and forced the fumble.
Maryland (6-7) got right back in the game on back-to-back lengthy touchdown passes. With 12:48 remaining in the third quarter, Hills hit senior wideout Teldrick Morgan for a 63-yard touchdown pass to make it 36-20.
The Terrapins then cut their deficit to 36-27 with 10:05 left in the third quarter on a 52-yard touchdown pass from Hills to senior wideout Levern Jacobs.
Maryland had a golden opportunity to get closer with a first-and-goal from the Boston College 1 and under five minutes left in the game, but on second down, Hills fumbled the snap and Eagles linebacker Matt Milano recovered the ball at the Boston College 2-yard line with 4:02 remaining.
Maryland got more life when senior defensive lineman Azubuike Ukandu recovered a Boston College fumble at the 5-yard line to give the Terrapins a first-and-goal with 3:14 remaining.
However, the Terrapins threw three straight incompletions and had to settle for a successful 23-yard field goal attempt by junior Adam Greene that made it 36-30 with 2:55 left.
Maryland forced a three-and-out to get the ball back at its 36 with under two minutes left, but three incompletions and a sack gave the ball back to Boston College, which ran out the clock from there.
Boston College snapped a streak of five straight bowl losses. The last bowl win for the Eagles before Monday came in the 2007 Champs Sports Bowl, 24-21 over Michigan State.
RB Ty Johnson's 62-yard touchdown run in the first half for Maryland was his 11th carry of 40 yards or more this season.
Boston College had eight sacks in the game and finished the season with 47. The Eagles entered the game tied for 10th nationally in sacks.
Maryland sophomore WR D.J. Moore extended his streak of catching at least one pass in a game to 21.
This was the second bowl game in Detroit or its surrounding area for both Boston College and Maryland. Boston College beat Toledo 51-25 in the 2002 Motor City Bowl at Ford Field. Maryland won the 1985 Cherry Bowl at the Pontiac Silverdome, beating Syracuse 35-18.
Maryland lost its third straight bowl game. The last bowl game the Terrapins won was in 2010 when they beat East Carolina 51-20 in the Military Bowl.
The announced attendance for the game was 19,117.

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