BOSTON (AP) — Maryland coach Randy Edsall may someday be able to appreciate how close his fourth-string quarterback came to leading the Terrapins to victory.
Trailing 13-0 early in the second half, Maryland rallied before Boston College’s Chase Rettig completed a 14-yard touchdown pass to Johnathan Coleman with 52 seconds left to lift the Eagles to a 20-17 win on Saturday.
Caleb Rowe completed 23 of 42 passes for 240 yards and two touchdowns, but was also picked off three times.
Facing a big hole early didn’t seem to bother the freshman quarterback.
‘‘Maybe I should be happier. I'm not really happy when we lose,’’ Edsall said. ‘‘That’s why I recruited him. We’re down 13-nothing and the kids really could have packed it in and mailed it in.’’
But the Terrapins didn’t and took their first lead of the game, 17-13, when Rowe completed a 66-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs midway through the fourth quarter.
Maryland (4-4, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) didn’t have any late-game magic, though, because Rowe was intercepted by Spenser Rositano on the initial play after BC’s go-ahead score.
Last week, Rowe marched the Terrapins down for a chance to win the game, but Brad Craddock’s 33-yard field goal attempt hit the left upright with 2 seconds left in a 20-18 loss to North Carolina State.
‘‘I felt for the kids. I really do,’’ Edsall said. ‘‘I wanted them to win so badly because they are doing all the things that we are asking them to do and playing their hearts out.’’
The victory snapped a five-game losing streak for the Eagles (2-6, 1-4) and helped them avoid their worst start since 1989.
Wearing stars-and-stripes uniforms for Military Appreciation Day, Boston College opened a 13-0 lead early in the third quarter thanks to a pair of interceptions and then came back after giving up the lead.
Rettig was 21 for 39 for 287 yards and two touchdowns, completing his last six passes on the game-winning drive. Alex Amidon caught nine passes for 137 yards.
Diggs had 11 catches for 152 yards for Maryland, and Wes Brown ran 23 times for 73 yards.
The Eagles scored on a two-play, 39-yard touchdown drive on their first possession and took over on the Maryland 19 on their second thanks to Spiffy Evans’ 72-yard punt return. But Andre Williams fumbled the ball into the end zone, where it was recovered by Darius Kilgo for a touchback.
BC made it 10-0 on Nate Freese’s 36-yard field goal early in the second quarter and made it 13-0 on a 28-yarder early in the third.
They had a chance to ice it when Rowe sailed a third-and-7 pass over the middle into double-coverage that linebacker Nick Clancy had in his hands but dropped. On fourth down, Rowe hit Kevin Dorsey for 26 yards; on fourth-and-goal from the 1 yard-line, Rowe connected with Nigel King for the touchdown that made it 13-7.
After BC went three-and-out, losing 13 yards on two of Maryland’s five sacks, Rowe led the Terps into position for Brendan Magistro’s 28-yard field goal that made it 13-10.
BC twice went three-and-out before Maryland took over at its own 27 yard-line and needed just three plays to score. Rowe hit Diggs on a slant pattern, and the receiver headed to the left sideline before outsprinting the coverage to the end zone.
BC took over with 4:45 left, and Rettig missed on four of his first six attempts before clicking. He completed two straight passes, each for a first down, before a sack that set up a second-and-17 that became a third-and-9 and forced BC to call a timeout.
But Rettig hit Amidon for 17 yards to the Maryland 19, Bobby Swigert for five more yards and then found Coleman in the right flat, with no one between him and the goal line.