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Terps have hands full with Boston College and its record-setting rusher

FootballCollege FootballMaryland TerrapinsCollege SportsAtlantic Coast ConferenceBoston College Eagles

COLLEGE PARK — Maryland football coach Randy Edsall considered Boston College's offensive statistics and shook his head in admiration.

The Eagles, Maryland's opponent in its final Atlantic Coast Conference home game Saturday, have run the ball nearly twice as much as they have thrown it.

Their run-pass ratio is 66.3 percent, a statistic Edsall calls "unheard of in this day and age. It's almost like playing against a wishbone team." By comparison, Maryland's ratio is 51.4 percent runs to 48.6 percent passes.

Opponents know Boston College is going to run, but they have so far been unable to stop it.

Maryland (6-4, 2-4 ACC) gets its turn Saturday to try to contain Andre Williams, the 6-foot, 227-pound senior running back who had an ACC-record 339 rushing yards on 42 carries last weekend in a victory over North Carolina State.

"There's no secret in terms of what they want to do," said Edsall, whose Terps upset Virginia Tech last weekend in the biggest win of his Maryland career. "He's rushed it against everybody. He's one of those guys that kind of gets stronger as the game goes on."

Williams leads the Football Bowl Subdivision with 288 carries for 1,810 yards. No other ACC runner is within 100 carries of Williams' total.

"He wears you out," Maryland defensive coordinator Brian Stewart said. "If you look at tape, you see that the same guys tackling him early are the same guys missing and getting [run] over late. You get tired [of] hitting a big body."

Williams has rushed so many times — 72 times in the past two weeks alone — that observers have begun to wonder whether he will wear down.

So far, it's just the opposite. He has topped the school rushing record two weeks in a row.

"We're real, real careful ," Boston College coach Steve Addazio said of monitoring Williams' carries, which the Eagles (6-4, 3-3 ACC) have done since the start of training camp.

"[Williams] really doesn't take a lot in practice right now," Addazio added. "What we try to do is get him to the game. Obviously last week I think he had 42 carries. So he's taking care of himself. We really try to help him with that. We have really honestly one of the best offensive lines I've ever been a part of."

Maryland ranks fourth in the ACC in rushing defense (139.8 yards allowed per game). The Terps surrendered 242 rushing yards — matching a season worst — in a loss to Syracuse on Nov. 9. But the Terps gave up just 54 rushing yards to Virginia Tech last week.

A key to stopping Williams is defensive depth. Maryland will be missing linebacker Cole Farrand (shoulder), its leading tackler at 8.3 per game.

Otherwise, the Terps' front seven is relatively intact.

"I think we're in pretty good shape," Edsall said. "We've basically got eight defensive linemen and all of our linebackers except for Cole."

Maryland became bowl-eligible after its 27-24 overtime victory over Virginia Tech. Now, the Terps are playing for bowl position — and more. Saturday's is the final ACC game at Byrd Stadium for the Terps, who join the Big Ten next year.

"It's senior day. It's the last home ACC game," Edsall said. "We learned a lot between the Syracuse game and the Virginia Tech game, and now you just hope that it carries over. I don't see any reason why it wouldn't."

jeff.barker@baltsun.com
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Maryland (6-4, 2-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) vs. Boston College (6-4, 3-3 ACC)

When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

Site: Byrd Stadium

TV: Comcast SportsNet

Radio: 105.7 FM, 980 AM

Series: Boston College leads, 7-3

Last meeting: Boston College defeated Maryland, 20-17 on Oct. 27, 2012, in Chestnut Hill, Mass.

Maryland offense vs. Wake Forest defense: C.J. Brown had the most memorable game of his college career in last week's victory over Virginia Tech. The quarterback rushed for 122 yards, including the game-winning touchdown in overtime. Brown ranks sixth in the conference in passing yardage (201 per game). Boston College's defense ranks last in the ACC (429.8 yards allowed per game). But linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis is fifth in the conference with 8.9 tackles per game and fellow linebacker Steele Divitto is right behind him with 8.8.

Maryland defense vs. Boston College offense: Maryland has surrendered at least 200 rushing yards three times this season and will be hard-pressed not to do so again against the Eagles' power running game. Senior running back Andre Williams averages 181 yards per game, 6.3 yards per carry and has scored 14 touchdowns. Wide receiver Alex Amidon has 62 receptions for 760 yards and four touchdowns. After not recording a sack the week prior, Maryland had a season-high seven sacks against Virginia Tech.

Jeff Barker

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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FootballCollege FootballMaryland TerrapinsCollege SportsAtlantic Coast ConferenceBoston College Eagles
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