(Saturday, November 27th)
Final Score: Maryland 38, (21) North Carolina State 31
College Park, MD (Sports Network) - Danny O'Brien threw for a personal-best 417 yards and four touchdowns to Torrey Smith as Maryland hung on late to down 21st-ranked North Carolina State, 38-31, at Byrd Stadium.
O'Brien was 33-of-47 while Smith exploded for 14 catches and a career-best 224 yards for the Terrapins (8-4, 5-3 ACC), who denied their foes the Atlantic Division title with their fourth win in six games.
"I'm really proud of our players who hung in there," said Terrapins head coach Ralph Friedgen. "We got off to a slow start. Then we got going offensively and were able to take the lead, and then have an extended lead. Then we tried to keep it as close as we could to keep the TV ratings up. But, I thought you saw an excellent performance tonight from Danny O'Brien and Torrey Smith. It was one of the better performances I've seen by a quarterback. I was very impressed with him."
D.J. Adams posted a rushing score for Maryland, which won despite racking up negative yards on the ground.
By virtue of the victory and Florida State's 31-7 triumph over Florida, the Seminoles clinched the Atlantic and will face Coastal champion Virginia Tech in the ACC title game at Charlotte next Saturday.
Russell Wilson completed 31-of-60 passes for 311 yards, two TDs and a pick, and also rushed for 53 yards and two scores for the Wolfpack (8-4, 5-3), who had won their two previous games.
James Washington totaled 101 yards of offense with a touchdown reception, and Owen Spencer also caught a scoring pass.
"We just couldn't get over the hump today," said NC State head coach Tom O'Brien. "I'm proud of this team, to start out where we did this year and win eight games and five conference games is something that hasn't been done at NC State in a long time. It shows their commitment and what they have done."
O'Brien found Smith in the back-left corner of the end zone for a 10-yard score and Maryland took a 24-14 lead with 4:59 to play in the third quarter. It capped a run of 24 consecutive points by the Terrapins.
On the subsequent Wolfpack series, George Bryan bobbled and then dropped a pass that was an easy touchdown on 1st-and-10 from the Terps' 13. Three plays later, Josh Czajkowski had to boot a 32-yarder with 30 seconds left in the period for a seven-point contest.
Smith answered the bell for a third time, closing out another successful Terrapins drive with an over-the-shoulder 12-yard TD reception to make it 31-17 with 11:46 remaining.
Wilson was sacked on 4th-and-goal from the Maryland eight, and the stake appeared to have been driven into NC State's collective heart when Smith hauled in a 71-yard scoring pass from O'Brien on the next play. But Wilson added a one-yard TD run on the ensuing drive and the Wolfpack recovered the onside kick.
Washington was able to get inside the right pylon to cap that series with 1:16 to go and Maryland's edge was cut to 38-31. However, the onside kick was swallowed up by the Terps.
Maryland finally wrapped up the game on a 4th-and-1 from the NC State 32 when Adams picked up the first down by the edge of the nose of the football.
Wilson's one-yard plunge to paydirt gave NC State a lead with more than 6 1/2 minutes played, then Wilson connected with Spencer for a 15-yard TD with 1:40 left in the first quarter to grant the visitors a 14-0 advantage.
Adams' two-yard run put the Terps on the board early in the second quarter, and a leaping 11-yard catch by Smith in the end zone with 2:25 left before halftime pulled Maryland even. The catch was his ninth TD reception of the year, tying a school record.
The Terrapins took a 17-14 lead to the break after a career-long 52-yard try from Travis Baltz split the uprights.
The Terrapins have won four of the last five meetings, and have taken a 32-31-4 advantage in the all-time series...The last 400-yard passing performance by a Maryland QB Scott Milanovich in 1993...Smith became the first player in school history to have four touchdown catches in one game...Maryland posted minus-15 yards rushing in first half and wound up with minus-nine yards on the ground on 20 attempts...The Wolfpack claimed a 434-408 edge in total offense...Maryland will be bowl eligible after finishing 2-10 in 2009.
11/27 22:23:08 ET