COLLEGE PARK, MD - - Mental lapses ran rampant for both teams as penalties and turnovers dominated Maryland's ACC opener against Wake Forest. But in the end, one great scamper by Stefon Diggs and a pair of sacks from senior leaders in the fourth quarter gave Maryland the victory. The Terps trailed for most of the game, but won their fifth straight conference opener Saturday, defeating the Wake Forest Demon Deacons 19-14.
On the first drive of the game, Wake Forest took advantage of a mistake by Maryland's secondary. On third-and-eight, Terence Davis used a double-move to fly by Isaac Goins, and when Eric Franklin failed to cover over the top, the receiver found himself twenty yards free of any Terrapin defender with the ball headed his way. He caught the pass from Tanner Price and sprinted to the end zone for the 73-yard score, giving Wake an early 7-0 lead.
Maryland responded with a 49-yard field goal from true freshman kicker Brad Craddock, and managed to get the ball back in good field position two drives later when Lovell Jackson muffed a Nate Renfro punt. Craddock managed to hit another field goal on that drive, a 52-yarder, and Maryland pulled it to 7-6.
After a 27-yard punt by Renfro gave Wake great field position to start out the second quarter, they marched to the goal line on the shoulders of Josh Harris. On fourth-and-goal on the one, they gave it to Harris again, but a Herculean effort from Dexter McDougle saw the cornerback jump over the line and stuff the play. Maryland would then give the ball away on their ensuing drive on an interception by Kevin Johnson.
Later in the quarter, Perry Hills finally woke up. On third-and-eleven, he completed a 23-yard pass to Stefon Diggs, and completed a 18-yard pass to Justus Pickett on a third-and-eight later in the drive. On the next play, he executed a perfect pump fake, faking out the cornerback and lofting the ball to a wide-open Kevin Dorsey. Dorsey trotted into the end zone easily, giving the Terps a 13-7 lead.
In the third quarter, the teams started out by trading fumbles, but it was the third that proved the most costly. Diggs muffed an Alex Kinal punt, Wake recovered, and turned it into a 22-yard touchdown pass to Tommy Bohannon.
Thanks to a Wake Forest pass interference penalty and key first-down runs from Pickett and Hills, the Terps put themselves in a position to take the lead again with about ten minutes left in the game. However, Craddock missed a 47-yard field goal, giving the Deacons the ball with the lead.
Just when the game started to look lost, Stefon Diggs came up big for Maryland. On second-and-18 after another Hills sack, Diggs caught a pass down the right sideline, outran a few Wake defenders, cut back beautifully inside and sped towards the end zone. He was brought down at the three after a 63-yard gain. Three plays later, Justus Pickett pounded it in for a one-yard touchdown. Craddock missed the extra point, but Maryland still led 19-14.
After giving up a first down on a Josh Harris run on Wake's following drive, Maryland's pass defense clamped down, forcing three straight incompletions. The Terps were forced into a three-and-out of their own, and the Deacons had seemingly one last chance.
The first play was an incomplete pass to Lovell Jackson, in which Maryland's defense swarmed and almost intercepted the ball. The second play was a four-yard run from Josh Harris, where Maryland also swarmed to the ball and showed little wiggle room. And finally, Kenneth Tate broke through the line and sacked Price for a loss of nine. The fourth - Demetrius Hartsfield, coming around the edge, sacking Price to seal the game.