Boston College holds off Maryland to win Quick Lane Bowl

Boston College running back Myles Willis picked up a first down in the third quarter.
Leon Halip/Getty Images Boston College running back Myles Willis picked up a first down in the third quarter.

DETROIT — Things had gone so well for so long that Boston College quarterback Patrick Towles didn’t wan’t to let the usual nerves set in.

The Eagles offense had been as sharp as it had in years. The defense, as it’s always been, was the team’s backbone.

But the final five minutes of the Eagles’ 36-30 win over Maryland in the Quick Lane Bowl at Ford Field were so chaotic, Towles had to take a realistic survey of the situation.

The Eagles were clinging to a 36-27 lead late in the fourth quarter, Towles had just thrown an interception that set Maryland up in the red zone. The Terrapins pushed their way down to the goal line thanks to an untimely facmask penalty and suddenly it seemed that BC’s hopes of coming away with a win were unraveling right in front of him.

It had happened so many times before over the course of the season he was bracing for it.

“We’ve got to be ready for the worst,” Towles said. “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.”

When Maryland quarterback Perry Hills botched a snap on second down and BC linebacker Matt Milano pounced on it, giving the Eagles the ball with 4:02 left, Towles thought he could exhale.

Four plays later, backed against their end zone, the Eagles tried to give themselves some room and burn some clock with an inside handoff to Jon Hilliman, but Hilliman got caught in a scrum at the line of scrimmage, coughed up the football and gave the Terrapins new life at the 5-yard line. That quickly, Towles had his finger back on the panic button.

It was enough to ask the defense to make one goal line stand, but the Eagles were looking for back-to-back stops.

On the sideline, Towles turned to wide receiver Charlie Callinan and said, “‘We’ve got to be ready for two-minute [drill].”

“You always have faith in your defense — always,” Towles said. “But as an offensive unit, you’ve got to prepare that they’re going to score.”

But the Eagles defense was prepared to get as many stops as it needed. It had wreaked havoc all day, but collectively, it was aware of the moment.

“We just looked each other in the eye and we knew we had it,” said defensive tackle…