COLLEGE PARK, Md. — The runaway leader for the Doak Walker Award, Boston College senior Andre Williams gave his late run for Heisman Trophy consideration an immeasurable boost Saturday when he became the first player in program history to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season.
“And you know, he’s still got some meat on the bone,’’ said BC running backs coach Al Washington. “He’ll be the first one to tell you that. He’s one of the sharpest kids I’ve been around. I’m so happy for him.’’
Williams, the rugged 6-foot, 227-pounder from Schnecksville, Pa., became the 16th player in Bowl Subdivision history to reach 2,000 by carrying 32 times for 263 yards, with touchdown runs of 6 and 72 yards. He now has 2,073 yards and 16 TD runs on the season.
Williams, who set the BC single-game and single-season rushing marks last week in his last home game, far exceeded his modest goal of rushing for 1,000 yards this season.
“My goal was just to win,’’ said Williams. “Just win games.’’
Williams, though, said he took to heart something Washington said to him a few weeks ago.
“He said, ‘Accomplishments are a derivative of success,’ and real success is winning these games,’’ Williams said. “And that’s what we’ve got to keep our minds on and go get [win] No. 8. I’ve never seen that before in my career at BC, so this is history for us.’’
Playing with a banged-up right shoulder, Williams aggravated the injury on his 29th carry. He left the field, sat out a series, and returned with 1:32 left to help position the ball for Nate Freese’s winning 52-yard field goal.
“I just know that God is showing this team favor right now,’’ Williams said. “Football is a game you have to play with pain and I was hurting a little bit, but this game was about who was willing to bleed less and that was going to be the loser.
“So we just put it on the line.’’ Williams’s voice trailed off as he repeated, “We just put it on the line.’’
Coach gets credit
Steve Addazio was named a semifinalist for the Maxwell Football Club Coach of the Year honors last week, having guided the Eagles’ turnaround one year after a 2-10 season.
“I’m so proud, so proud,’’ said Washington, a former BC defensive tackle who played for Tom O’Brien. “I haven’t been this proud in a long time. And it’s the way that we’re winning. It’s old school. I think the future for us is extremely bright.
“Coach Addazio is one of the best coaches I’ve ever been around and that’s no disrespect to Coach O’Brien or any of his coaches. But it is what it is. I’m just so proud.’’
There are 15 other semifinalists for the Maxwell award. Among them are fellow ACC coaches Dabo Swinney of Clemson, David Cutcliffe of Duke, and Jimbo Fisher of Florida State.
As far as Washington is concerned, though, Addazio is a shoo-in as conference Coach of the Year.
“Without a doubt,’’ Washington said. “I’ll fight anyone who has anything other to say, because of what we came from. Like this win, 80 percent of the country will look at it and go, ‘Oh, they won.’ But they have no idea the adversity, the fight, every week, every day we go through.
“I’ll carry this my whole career,’’ Washington added. “I’m a better coach for having been on Coach Addazio’s staff.’’
BC recorded its first blocked punt in two years when Manny Asprilla, the junior cornerback from Everett, Mass., blocked Maryland’s Nathan Renfro in the second quarter. Freshman Matt Milano recovered for the Eagles at the Maryland 6, and Williams scored off left tackle to tie the game, 10-10. The Eagles’ previous blocked punt was Sept. 17, 2011, when Spenser Rositano blocked Duke’s Alex King . . . BC’s defense rang up four sacks to draw within three of reaching its stated objective of 36 this season. Josh Keyes and Kevin Pierre-Louis each had a sack in the first half while Steven Daniels (who also had a fumble recovery) and Brian Mihalik had one apiece in the second half . . . Rettig’s second-quarter interception was his fifth of the season and first in 19 quarters of football, a stretch that went back to the second quarter of BC’s 24-14 loss at Clemson Oct. 12. But Rettig atoned with a go-ahead, 74-yard TD pass to Alex Amidon, the Eagles’ longest pass play of the season . . . Scouts from the Military (Annapolis, Md.) and Advocare 100 (Shreveport, La.) bowls were in attendance.