Archives for posts with tag: Boston College

PORTIONS PREVIOUSLY APPEARING ON WTOP.COM–

The Maryland Women’s Lacrosse team is in the Final Four–again.  Ten straight appearances in the national semifinals means that, bear with me here, that not only has every senior been on four straight Final Four teams- no senior has played with anyone who played with anyone at Maryland who was on a Terps team that didn’t make the Final Four.  No easy task.  Just like winning a second straight national title this weekend will be no easy task as they battle Boston College at 7:30 Friday in the Semifinals-one year after beating the Eagles in the National Championship Game.

The seeds to this year’s senior class were planted over ten years ago.  Senior attacker Megan Whittle says, “The coolest thing about my class–there’s seven of us now–is that we’re all from Maryland and four of us played on the same club team together.  Since we were eight or nine.” The addition of transfer Kathy Rudkin from Syracuse bolstered a defense that lost plenty of talent to graduation-and gives the Terps eight seniors who contribute on and off the field.  “I’m just fortunate and blessed to have a team full of amazing women,” coach Cathy Reese says, “they’re all just terrific people and that’s what it’s all about.  From Megan Whittle who leads the team with 83 goals to Emma Moss who saw action in just four games this year, Reese’s senior class and team is more than a collection of talent but a group of teammates.  “What Cathy’s been able to do is bring 37 girls together, get everybody on the same page and focused towards the same goal. And have everyone love every moment of it,” Whittle says, “And that is something that is very hard to do–especially with 37 girls of college age.”

This year’s senior class leaves College Park with a 47-0 home record…setting the standard while also laying the groundwork for the 2019 and 2020 teams. “They mean the world (to me)”, says junior goalie Megan Taylor, “I’ve actually been playing with Megan Whittle since Rec (league)–and Taylor Hensh I grew up playing COBRA (travel lacrosse) with. Just being able to watch them grow and watch them become the leaders that they are, it’s really something special.”  But the mood around campus is not one of celebration this week–it’s one of focus.  “This senior class has had such an impressive ride and accomplishment, but it’s important that we don’t take anything for granted,” coach Cathy Reese says, “it took a lot of work to get here and there’s a lot of work still to be done going into this weekend.”  And that’s exactly where Megan Whittle wanted to be-and she gets to be there one more weekend in her playing career.  “When I was 15 years old and decided to commit to Maryland, that’s what I signed up for,” Whittle said, “And here it is, happening. My senior class had a very successful tradition of winning National Championships and Big Ten Championships–but the coolest part is that is isn’t over yet”.

 

In the other semifinal–

#2 North Carolina (17-3) faces #3 James Madison (20-1) at 5 p.m..  After a slow start the Tar Heels enter Memorial Day weekend on a 12-game winning streak that includes an ACC Championship.  The Dukes boast the fourth best defense in Division I and are led on offense by Kristen Gaudian (74 goals) and Katie Kerrigan (53 assists).  Gaudian and Elena Romesburg each scored 5 goals in the February meeting between the two schools that was won by JMU in overtime.

 

PORTIONS PREVIOUSLY APPEARING ON WTOP.COM–

The four local Division I FBS schools have all played six games…and while each had a different set of expectations coming into the season those hopes often change by mid-October.  For instance, nobody thought Virginia would double its win total from the previous year before Columbus Day and be in position to go bowling for the first time since 2011.  The Cavaliers’ glass (read below to see what they’re pouring) is more than half-full.  Virginia Tech came into 2017 expecting to compete for another Coastal Division title…and barring a hiccup at home over the next two Saturday’s that’s what they’ll get in early November at a nationally ranked Miami team.  Navy learned it’s in for a long battle to return to the AAC Championship game…but is safe at quarterback for the time being in Zach Abey.  And Maryland?  Right where we were in late-August…looking to scrape together six wins and make a bowl.  Looking ahead they need victories over Indiana and Rutgers to have a prayer…and somehow need an upset over Penn State, Michigan State, Michigan or Wisconsin.   All four of those schools are currently ranked in the Top 20.

Alma Mater Update– eight days after it’s improbable victory over #2 Clemson, the Orange visit #8 Miami.  Somehow I don’t think this is going to end well.  But if there’s one thing I’ve learned about the Hurricanes over the last decade, it’s that they’re often downgraded to tropical storms in mid-October.  I have an annual column saved in my computer for that purpose.  I’m not saying that Eric Dungey can get it done…but the U does rank 12th in getting off the field on third down.  Breaking out two bleu cheese containers to let one wing soak while I eat the other.

Maryland (3-3, 1-2 Big Ten) at #5 Wisconsin (6-0, 3-0), noon, FOX.  Another national showcase involving the not-ready-for-prime-time Terps has them battling the Badgers at high noon…although it will technically be 11 a.m. in Madison.  Hopefully the dining halls will open up early so the students can load up on Monte Cristo sandwiches before heading to Camp Randall.  The Terps defense that’s allowing a Big Ten-high 36.5 points per game will have its hands full with Jonathan Taylor (a Big Ten-best 164 yards per game with 10 touchdowns this fall) and an offense that converts 54% of its third downs.  Wisconsin is also #1 in the league at stopping the run… and we saw what happened last week when the Terps’ tailback tandem averaged under three yards per carry.  I fully expect Max Bortenschlager to get the ball to DJ Moore a ridiculous amount of times…but also fully expect the conference’s best pass rush (20 sacks in six games) to plant Max in the turf early and often.  Terrapins tumble, 41-16.

 

Virginia (5-1, 2-0 ACC) vs Boston College (3-4, 1-3), 12:30 p.m., ACC Network.  Does one credit the Eagles with a 45-42 upset of Louisville or realize that the Cardinals are major frauds this fall?  What isn’t up for debate is the 272 rushing yards produced by freshman AJ Dillon…and that the Cavaliers rank ninth in the ACC in stopping the run.  But they’ve been solid everywhere else on that side of the ball, from #1 against the pass to #4 on getting off the field on third down.  BC is the very definition of “one dimensional” this fall (13th in the conference in passing and last in passing efficiency) and last weekend’s outburst was the first time the school had posted 30+ points in a league game since 2014.  Kippy & Buffy can taste bowl eligibility as well as a Cross Key Cabernet Franc: “aubergine and opaque in the glass; redolent of raspberry compote with hints of fennel.”  Strong suggestions of bleu cheese on Triscuits to complete the fun.  Cavaliers come through, 26-16.

 

#14 Virginia Tech (5-1, 1-1 ACC) vs North Carolina (1-6, 0-4), 3:30 p.m., ESPN2.  Somewhow UNC has already lost more games this fall than they did in all of 2016.  Blame the worst defense in the ACC…as well as an offense that ranks last in converting third downs.  It doesn’t help that the Tar Heels have a mess at the quarterback position…as the freshman-grad transfer combination of Chazz Surratt and Brandon Harris has produced just the wrong combination of inexperience and limitations (as opposed to potential and experience).  Speaking of quarterbacks, the Hokies Josh Jackson has thrown four interceptions over his last three games.  Good thing he’s going up against a very forgiving UNC D.  Hokies win big, 38-14.

 

Navy (5-1, 3-1 AAC) vs #20 UCF (5-0, 3-0), CBS Sports Network.  The Knights (they dropped the Golden last decade when they moved away from “Central Florida”-#branding) blew away Maryland last month…and haven’s slowed down one bit.  McKenzie Milton is completing 70% of his passes with 15 touchdowns and 2 interceptions (one coming at Maryland) for the highest-scoring offense in the AAC.  The Mids aren’t horrible against the pass, but they aren’t great against it by any stretch of the imagination.  UCF is also plus-8 in the turnover battle, and Navy’s minus-5 is the red flag no ship wants to fly.  Midshipmen fall at home, 33-22.

 

Howard beats Morgan State, Georgetown edges Fordham, Richmond falls at Delaware, James Madison beats William & Mary.

 

Last Week: 7-1.

Overall: 42-12.

College Football has its issues…but for all of the cupcake buffets we bear through with September’s buyout games, leagues named inappropriately (ten schools in the Big 12 and twelve schools in the Big 10), Johnny Manziel signing sprees and way too many bowl games involving undeserving teams there’s a Saturday after Thanksgiving like this year.  From Michigan staying with unbeaten Ohio State and going for two (despite not making it)…to Duke (?) wrapping up the ACC Coastal Division…to Georgia rallying back in a game that doesn’t mean anything but everything inside the Peach State…to Auburn’s gamewinning return of a missed Alabama field goal…to USC and UCLA both wearing their home colors at the Coliseum (as they should)…we almost forgot to take a breath.  Exhale, fans…because College Football saved its best song for the last track on the 2013 regular season album.  I can almost embrace the American Athletic Conference of America.  Almost.

Bracket Re-Rack– #1 Alabama’s improbable loss shakes up the field a tiny bit… while Clemson’s loss puts the Tigers out of the at-large field.  Fresno State despite no longer being unbeaten still leads the Mountain West, so the Bulldogs postseason isn’t blown in fantasy despite their BCS hopes going down the drain in reality.  And Oregon’s one point win over Oregon State costs the Ducks the last at-large berth…snappped up by Arizona State.

#1 Florida State–#16 Louisiana-Lafayette vs. #8 South Carolina–#9 Baylor

#4 Alabama–#13 Northern Illinois vs. #6 Oklahoma St. –#11 Arizona St.

#3 Auburn–#14 Fresno St. vs. #7 Stanford–#10 Michigan St.

#2 Ohio St.–#15 Marshall vs. #5 Missouri–#12 Central Florida

Alma Mater Update– Bowl Eligibility Baby!  The Orange hold off Boston College 34-31 to wrap up a 6-6 season… potentially sending SU to a third bowl in four years.  And that’s where things get tricky– at 6-6 (with a win over Wagner) will the Orange learn the subtle difference between “bowl eligible” and “bowl worthy”?  With 11 teams available and eight slots to fill (assuming Florida State beats Duke and advances to the National Championship Game)…there’s one interesting possibility.  Could the Carrier Dome be able to handle three Pinstripe Bowl Banners and contain itself?

Maryland clinches a winning season with a 41-21 thumping of NC State… ending its 51-year tenure in the ACC on a winning note.  I’m waiting to see which bowl (Military) the Terps go to (Annapolis) this December (it’s almost a given).  Terrapin Triumphs– CJ Brown regained his September form with 259 yards and 2 TD’s passing…while adding 138 yards and 3 scores rushing…the offense scored the first six times they touched the football…the defense generated in the first half 4 three and outs with a fifth driving losing 10 yards on 8 plays…Matt Robinson earns ACC LB of the Week by notching 17 tackles.  Terrapin Troubles–perhaps CJ can help Brandon Ross (18 carries for 31 yards) reclaim his September Swagger: after gaining 332 yards over the four non-conference games, Ross was held to 328 in 7 ACC affairs.  Takeaway– with a schedule that will regularly feature Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State it’s a good thing the Terps punched their postseason ticket this fall.

Virginia Tech made it a decade of dominance by defeating Virginia 16-6…the highlight being a scoreless second half in Charlottesville as the only time either team moved the ball more than 35 yards on a possession, they each got intercepted.  How poetic.  Actually, the highlight was Kippy and Buffy wrapping up another fun fall of tailgaiting with a delicious Horton Vineyards Vintage Port 2007.  “Big, full bodied, sweet, with refined texture and aromas of blackberry and cherry perfumes”…the perfect elixur for a 10-loss season.  Or at least the perfect compliment to Bergkäse on Captain’s Wafers.

Hokie Highlights– Trey Edmunds rumbled for 93 yards while JC Coleman added 57 on the ground… Demitri Knowles notched 4 catches for 101 yards… Kendall Fuller posted 8 tackles, half of a sack and a whole interception.  Eric Kristensen converted all 3 FG attempts and AJ Hughes averaged 44 yards per punt…BEAMER BALL!, indeed.  Hokie Humblings– 5 sacks allowed…and Logan Thomas was less than stellar in his final regular season game (13-29 with an INT).  Going 4-14 on third down isn’t awesome, either.  Takeaway– a 13-10 loss at home to Duke prevents this consistently uneven team from playing Florida State in the ACC Title game…a good motivation for next year.

Cavalier Congrats– needing 74 yards to reach 1000, Kevin Parks ran for 105 against the #1 defense in the ACC.  Eli Harold notched 3 sacks as the defense held VT to just one touchdown…and 97 total yards in the second half.  Cavalier Concerns– NINE penalties for 83 yards is not ideal.  In a day when passing stats resemble video games, UVa finishes under 50% again with neither David Watford or Greyson Lambert able to provide much spark.  Takeaway– Phillip Sims and Michael Rocco’s departures left the Cavaliers QB situation in a lurch, and after a 10-loss campaign with another solid recruiting class coming in there’s no way to go but up…right?