Finch carries Boston College over Maryland 28-17
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) - The temperature was chilling, the field was drenched and snow swirled around the near-empty stadium.
Perfect conditions, evidently, for Boston College running back Rolandan Finch.
Finch had an amazing day on an otherwise miserable afternoon, running for 243 yards and two touchdowns to help the Eagles earn their first Atlantic Coast Conference win of the season, 28-17 over Maryland on Saturday.
The 243 yards ranks third on Boston College's single-game charts, behind only Montel Harris (264 in 2009) and Phil Bennett (253 in 1972).
"Kudos to him," Eagles coach Frank Spaziani said. "We certainly didn't think he was going to rush for this, but he was capable of doing it - and he did."
The game featured the two teams with the worst overall records in the ACC, and it showed. The Eagles (2-6, 1-4) committed four turnovers, completed only five passes for 32 yards and botched two field goal tries.
The Terrapins (2-6, 1-4) gave the ball away twice, missed two short field goals and didn't score a touchdown until late in the fourth quarter.
The lackluster matchup, along with the winter-like weather, caused thousands of fans to stay at home. Attendance was announced at 29,945, but there were fewer than 10,000 people in the seats when the second half started with Maryland trailing 21-3.
Finch, a sophomore, never before broke the 100-yard mark and had run for 266 yards in six games before Saturday. He had 152 yards rushing at halftime, finished with a career-high 39 carries and had a team-leading two catches for seven yards.
"It was really slick, but I tried to keep it downhill most of the game and just hit stuff straight ahead," Finch said.
His longest run was 19 yards, but he inflicted a pounding on the Maryland defense.
"In sloppy weather it's hard to get the big hitters, so we put the emphasis on moving the chains," Finch said.
Known to his teammates as "Deuce," Finch missed all of last season with an injury. After a slow start, he has emerged as a decent replacement for Harris, who's out of the year with a knee injury.
"We know Deuce is a very good back. He's had a lot of injuries and things that have set his career back a little bit, but now he's healthy and getting in the rotation," Spaziani said.
Linebacker Luke Kuechly had 12 tackles and an interception to help Boston College snap a three-game skid. The Eagles' only other win was against Massachusetts.
"It's like the next breath of air for us," Spaziani said. "We're certainly glad to get it. The kids have been working hard, and you have to have success after a while."
Maryland coach Randy Edsall started C.J. Brown at quarterback, then switched to Danny O'Brien in the second quarter. Both threw an interception, and neither moved the offense until O'Brien threw a 55-yard touchdown pass to Adrian Coxson with 6:39 left.
That made it 21-10, and after a failed onside kick, Finch scored his second touchdown to clinch it.
Brown went 2 for 6 for 14 yards, and O'Brien completed 14 of 35 passes for 165 yards, including 141 in the fourth quarter.
One more loss, and the Terrapins will be officially eliminated from bowl contention.
"We don't have any margin of error anymore," Edsall said. "...We are going to keep working and getting better so we can go out there and put up wins."
Maryland got off to a miserable start, beginning with Nick Ferrara bouncing the opening kickoff out of bounds. Boston College needed only six plays to cover the 60 yards, the last five on runs by Finch for 7, 5, 9, 8 and 18 yards.
Brown threw an errant pitch on the Terrapins' first offensive play, but he recovered the loose ball and got a field goal out of the drive.
Maryland's next possession ended when Sean Sylvia intercepted a deflected pass, and two plays later wide receiver Alex Amidon scored on a 21-yard touchdown run for a 14-3 lead.
After a Maryland punt, Boston College mounted an 80-yard drive that ended with a 3-yard touchdown run by Andre Williams. The Eagles were poised to pad the margin following an interception by Kuechly, but Finch lost a fumble at the Maryland 4.
Another fumble by Finch gave Maryland the ball at the BC 14. Three plays lost two yards and Ferrara's 34-yard field goal try was blocked.
Ferrara also botched a 27-yarder early in the second half. Boston College kicker Nate Freese missed a pair of 37-yard field goal tries in the fourth quarter.