Maryland closes the book on NC State 41-21 in ACC finale

jgiglio@newsobserver.comNovember 30, 2013 

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    • N.C. State receiver Rashard Smith scored a touchdown for the fourth straight week. Smith caught six passes for 67 yards. He caught a 5-yard TD in the second quarter. Smith had one touchdown, on a punt return, in the first eight games. He caught a TD in each of the final three games, returned a punt for a TD against Duke on Nov. 9 and threw for a TD against Boston College on Nov. 16.

    • For the second straight week, quarterback Brandon Mitchell played the entire game – the only two games of the season coach Dave Doeren only used one quarterback. Mitchell ran for 72 yards and threw for 200 against Maryland. It was the third straight game N.C. State did not throw an interception, after its quarterbacks combined for 15 in the first nine games.

    • Maryland receiver Nigel King, who’s from Raleigh, caught a 53-yard touchdown in the first quarter. King, who played at Wakefield High for three years, finished with two catches for 63 yards. He also had a catch for 33 yards against the Wolfpack last year, which set up a last-second field goal for the Terps in an 20-18 loss.

— Technically, N.C. State’s game with Maryland ended at 3:47 p.m. Saturday.

With five total touchdowns from quarterback C.J. Brown, the Terrapins pasted the Wolfpack 41-21 in their final ACC football game.

But Saturday’s game was over long before the clock hit all zeroes and the crowd had emptied out of Carter-Finley Stadium after watching the Wolfpack (3-9, 0-8 ACC) go winless in the ACC for the first time since 1959.

No, N.C. State’s chances of avoiding its first eight-game losing streak within a season in 54 years ended at 10:43 in the second quarter.

Down 20-7, N.C. State’s defense actually forced a fumble by Maryland receiver Levern Jacobs at the Wolfpack’s 18-yard line.

Three N.C. State defenders surrounded the loose ball, but Maryland tight end Dave Stinebaugh dove out of nowhere to recover the fumble.

So Maryland turned a mistake into a 14-yard gain. There were many problems in Dave Doeren’s first season, but that play was telling.

“It has been a tough, long season,” Doeren said. “As the head coach here, it’s my job, obviously, to get this football team to play better than we did.”

Sure enough, three plays after Stinebaugh’s recovery, Brown punched in a 2-yard touchdown run, one of three in the first half.

“We did not do what we needed to do early in the game defensively,” Doeren said. “It hurt. We let their quarterback run the football way too effectively.”

Brown finished with 138 yards on the ground and another 259 in the air. He threw for one of his two touchdowns in a lopsided first half for the Terps (7-5, 3-5 ACC).

That’s how it went Saturday for the Wolfpack and pretty much ever since a 48-14 win over Central Michigan on Sept. 28.

N.C. State’s defense couldn’t stop what had previously been an inept Maryland offense that is missing its two best receivers.

The Wolfpack offense, after scoring on the first drive, gained zero yards on the next five possessions.

By the time Wolfpack quarterback Brandon Mitchell hit receiver Rashard Smith for a 5-yard touchdown at 1:18 in the second quarter, the Terps already led by 27 points.

On the first drive of the second half, Brown hit running back Albert Reid on a 27-yard touchdown pass. That put Maryland up 41-14.

On the same field two years ago, against the same team, N.C. State pulled off the biggest comeback in the history of an ACC game. There was no repeat this time.

Mitchell ran for a 3-yard TD to make it 41-21 at 11:58 in the third quarter, but Maryland was able to close out the game and even the all-time series with the Wolfpack at 33-33-4.

The teams first played in 1909 and have played every year since 1956 but the series ends, for the foreseeable future, with Maryland leaving for the Big Ten in June.

The series has been wildly entertaining, especially the previous three games, but the stakes were considerably lower and the anticipation for Saturday’s game was nonexistent.

Maryland made sure to eliminate any drama with 34 straight points after the Wolfpack scored on its opening drive.

Mitchell hit fullback Tyler Purvis on a 3-yard touchdown pass at 10:54 in the first quarter for a 7-0 N.C. State lead.

It was all Maryland from there. Brown hit receiver Nigel King for a 53-yard touchdown, ran for a 49-yard touchdown and then TD runs of 2 and 3 yards.

By the time it ended, Maryland was off to celebrate, off to a bowl and then off to the Big Ten.

N.C. State was off until the spring, with no bowl and no ACC wins to show for a lost 2013 season.

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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