After bidding farewell to 17 seniors in their final home game, Maryland formally said goodbye to its last remaining hope of earning a bowl bid.
The Terrapins needed to be flawless against No. 10 Florida State — and clearly were not. The result was a 41-14 defeat Saturday that extended Maryland's losing streak to five games and ruined its chances of becoming bowl eligible.
The Terps (4-7, 2-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) will close out their disappointing season next week at North Carolina. Maryland has lost its last three games by a combined 119-37 score.
"Everyone was pretty down, especially because it's the seniors' last game at home," senior offensive tackle Justin Gilbert said. "That's not how you really want to go out, but guys are just upset. This isn't really the season we were looking for. There was a lot of adversity."
Most of it at quarterback, where season-ending injuries to four quarterbacks forced true freshman linebacker Shawn Petty to call the signals for the offense. Making his third straight start, Petty went 8 for 19 for 136 yards and two touchdowns, both to Kevin Dorsey.
But it wasn't nearly enough after the Seminoles scored two touchdowns in a span of 12 seconds in the first quarter to go up 14-0.
"You can't give Florida State that many points early on," coach Randy Edsall said. "With what we try to do offensively, we can't play from behind like that."
Devonta Freeman ran for 148 yards and two touchdowns, FSU's top-ranked defense lived up to its billing as the Seminoles improved to 21-2 in this lopsided rivalry. The victory enabled the Seminoles (10-1, 7-1) to clinch the league's Atlantic Division crown.
"One of our first goals is to win the division," coach Jimbo Fisher said. "Now we have to play the Florida game, get in the ACC championship game and see where that goes."
Florida State led 27-0 at halftime and coasted to its fifth straight victory. The Seminoles will play for their 13th ACC crown on Dec. 1.
"This has been one of our goals since camp time," wide receiver Kenny Shaw said.
EJ Manuel completed 17 of 23 passes for 144 yards and two scores to supplement a running game that amassed 237 yards. In their previous game at Virginia Tech, the Seminoles were held to minus-15 yards rushing.
"We just got back to fundamentals," Fisher said. "We got good angles and we were being efficient at what we were doing."
Florida State allowed 27 yards and three first downs before halftime and ended up giving up 170 yards — well below their nation's best average of 242.9 per game.
Were it not for a 42-yard touchdown pass from Petty to Dorsey with 25 seconds left, the Seminoles would have held the opposition under 10 points for the sixth time in 11 games.
Any reasonable hope the Terrapins had of pulling off an upset vanished after the Seminoles bolted to an early lead.
Maryland won the toss, deferred and promptly yielded an 11-play, 61-yard drive that ended with a 5-yard run by Freeman. Levern Jacobs fumbled the subsequent kickoff, FSU recovered at the 10 and Manuel threw a first-down touchdown pass to tight end Nick O'Leary.
"The one thing I told the team at the end of the game was that we would have had to play a perfect game to win," Edsall said. "We went down 7-0 and then fumbled, and the next thing you know it's 14-0 — and we fumbled again."
Late in the first quarter, Petty botched a handoff and the Seminoles recovered the fumble at the Maryland 32.
After 15 minutes, the Seminoles had a 111-18 advantage in total yardage. On the second play of the second quarter, Dustin Hopkins kicked a 26-yard field goal to make it 17-0 and set a Football Bowl Subdivision record for career points by a kicker (442). He added six more points to extend the mark to 448.
Florida State's next drive began with a 21-yard pass from Manuel to O'Leary and ended with a 40-yard field goal. Late in the half, Manuel directed a 70-yard march that ended with his 30-yard touchdown pass to Rashad Greene.
In the third quarter, Petty threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to Dorsey on a fourth-down play. It was the final home game for Dorsey and 16 other Maryland seniors, all of whom never got the satisfaction of defeating a top-10 team.
Florida State went up 34-7 late in the third quarter. After Freeman ran for 47 yards on a third-and-1, he scored on the next play from the 2.
With Manuel and Freeman watching from the sideline, the Seminoles added a fourth-quarter touchdown on a 22-yard run by James Wilder Jr.