NC State 56, Maryland 41
North Carolina State didn’t quit on the season when things
looked bleakest. The Wolfpack refused to give up on the finale,
Trailing the ACC’s worst team by four touchdowns, N.C. State
came up with the biggest rally in school history – and all but
assured itself of one more game.
Mike Glennon threw for a career-high five touchdowns, ran for
another score and helped North Carolina State come back from 27
points down in the second half to beat Maryland 56-41 on
James Washington ran 1 yard for the go-ahead score with 7:08
left for the Wolfpack (7-5, 4-4 ACC), who trailed 41-14 with 6
minutes left in the third quarter before scoring six straight times
they touched the ball during the second-biggest comeback ACC
history – and a victory that might have been more shocking than
last week’s upset of Clemson.
”When this football team was 2-3, there weren’t a lot of people
that believed we could win five out of the next seven games except
the people in this building,” coach Tom O’Brien said. ”You hitch
up your britches, you buckle your chin strap, you go to work and
you start grinding. And that’s what we did. … There’s probably
not a lot of people, in the middle of the third quarter today –
except those guys on the bench – who would have believed that the
outcome would have been (what) it was.”
The Wolfpack scored 35 points in the fourth quarter as part of a
rally surpassed in an ACC game only by Clemson’s comeback from a
28-point deficit to beat Virginia 29-28 in 1992.
”It’s the greatest thing I’ve ever been a part of,” tight end
George Bryan said.
C.J. Brown rushed for two touchdowns and threw for another for
Maryland (2-10, 1-7), which lost its last eight games under
first-year coach Randy Edsall and dropped its school-record fifth
in a row by double figures. Davin Meggett’s 46-yard scoring run in
the third quarter gave the Terrapins their biggest lead.
”This is the way our season has gone,” Brown said. ”We could
not put together a full game. We had to step up and make a play and
Glennon finished 36 of 55 for 306 yards and became the second
Wolfpack player to account for six TDs in a game, joining Philip
Rivers in that exclusive club.
He had touchdown passes covering 4 and 11 yards to Tony Creecy,
7 yards to Jay Smith, 6 yards to Tobais Palmer and 7 yards to Bryan
for N.C. State, which needed to win seven games to become eligible
because two of its victories came against FCS teams.
It took a remarkable rally to make that happen.
”We’re not trying to put ourselves in this situation, but it’s
a great win,” Glennon said. ”To do that on the stage that it was,
that we knew we had (to win) to go to a bowl game, was pretty
Glennon started the comeback with his touchdown pass to Palmer
with just under 6 minutes left in the third. Then he threw a second
scoring pass to Creecy on the first play of the fourth quarter,
pulling N.C. State within 13.
”What we needed to do was to get one score, because you have to
get the first one,” O’Brien said. ”Then you can get the second
one. You can’t make it up all at one time.”
Meggett fumbled on the Terrapins’ next play, and four plays
later, Glennon sneaked in from 1 yard out to make it 41-35 with
”From that point on, we were rolling,” O’Brien said.
And when Earl Wolff intercepted Brown’s deep pass and brought it
out to near midfield, Carter-Finley Stadium was rocking. Glennon’s
20-yard pass to Creecy on third-and-9 set up Washington’s go-ahead
Maryland went three-and-out and punted back to N.C. State with
5:21 left, and the Wolfpack ran about three minutes off the clock –
helped by a roughing-the-passer penalty on a third-and-6 that kept
the drive going. Glennon’s TD pass to Bryan put N.C. State up 49-41
with 2:18 left.
C.J. Wilson then iced it with a 59-yard interception return for
a score with 27 seconds to play.
Brown finished 12 of 23 for 166 yards with a pair of 1-yard
touchdown runs and a 24-yard scoring pass to Kevin Dorsey for
Maryland, a two-touchdown underdog that hadn’t beaten an FBS team
since the opener against shorthanded Miami.
”This is the worst feeling in the world,” Brown said.
Dexter McDougle returned a fumble 66 yards for a touchdown and
A.J. Hendy took back an interception 32 yards for another score for
Maryland, which was trying to spoil things for the Wolfpack for the
third time in five years. The Terps kept them out of the postseason
in 2007, and beat Russell Wilson’s final N.C. State team in the
2010 finale to deny it a spot in the ACC championship game.
For most of the day, it seemed all but certain that it would
McDougle started the scoring when he scooped up James
Washington’s fumble and had an easy path down the sideline for the
TD roughly 6 1/2 minutes in. Hendy made it 28-7 with 8 minutes left
in the half when he picked off Glennon’s pass and breezed into the
”Our immaturity showed early in that we tried too hard,”
Brown’s second short touchdown run put the Terps up by 14 midway
through the second quarter, and his TD pass to Dorsey made it 34-14
with 33 seconds before the break. Meggett then stretched it to
41-14 with his long scoring run barely 4 minutes into the
That sent some fans to the exits – way too early.
”I never thought it was over,” O’Brien said. ”As long as
we’ve got time, and we’ve got a quarterback who can throw the ball
and kids who can catch.”